Typewriter. This is a typewriter, if you’re wondering.
That’s the first few words it says at the top. Huh. Who’s this meant to be written for and should I be allowed to read it?
It’s me by the way. Your Mum.
I press my lips together, taking a deep breath. It can’t be. She’s no longer here. And how does she know it’s me reading it? How does she know I’m the one to find it? I can’t have been the first one to find it anyway; why is it so clean and tidy like it has been taken care of for the past year she’s been gone.
Head in my hands I try to calm myself. But I can’t. It’s like her figure is haunting me, like an unknown ghost, and nothing seems to fit in place.
Calm, Bella. Just leave it and everything will be fine.
But even my own reassuring voice doesn’t help the matter. This is my Mum, therefore I must read it.
Don’t be scared, Bella. I don’t mean to frighten you with this, wherever you are, and hopefully I still sit in the basement, on the desk, where I’m meant to be. I, being the typewriter, because it was my life.
Your life? Since when was writing your life? I can imagine your head whirling with all sorts of questions. But this is something I’ve kept hidden for a long time now.
This typewriter I was given when I was born - obviously not to use straight away but as something for future means. It’s vintage, something I don’t expect you to appreciate as much as I do, but I hope you will.
Of course I will.
Writing was a way of just letting go. I bet you see it as something you just learn at school because you have to, learn because you need it in everyday life to put across everything you say and do. For me, it’s more. For me, it’s about putting across thoughts, emotions, feelings, power, but in a different way. In the form of a poem? Yes. In the form of a story? Yes, also. But sometimes just typing out a paragraph about life, though seems has no purpose, helps an awful lot too.
Yes, I sound stupid to you because you’re just a grumpy, old teenager. Am I right?
I knew you’d reach that stage at some point.
Maybe you haven’t felt broken yet, so upset you don’t know any way to express anything you feel anymore. I used to feel like that. I’d take it out on my family because I had no one, friends-wise, to talk to. Maybe you’re the same…
But I wish I wasn’t.
Don’t be ashamed. Life is hard sometimes and you don’t know how to cope until you’re told exactly the right thing to do. So I’m here to help. Maybe I won’t be in future, but now I am. And here is me, in writing, in raw bone, in whatever you like to call it. I’m here to tell you that all you need to do is…
Alright, I gave you time to think, though I bet you skipped that blank space wondering if I’d ever continue. Yeah, I’m still here.
It’s so scary how she knows my thoughts…
So writing, huh? I know what you’re thinking.
Hell yeah you do.
Writing? Pfft. What a load of… well, I’d quit the cursing if you’ve got to that stage. Writing isn’t such a bad thing. Just put your fingers to the typewriter and with the clickety-clack of the keys just type out everything you’ve ever felt, ever wanted, ever dreamed. Don’t hesitate to think about anyone else’s thoughts or if anyone else reads it (you can throw it away afterwards if you want, rip it to shreds) because it’s only the moment that matters. Unload everything you’ve ever carried and let yourself free. It worked for me. Now it’s your turn to try.
My turn to try.
My turn to let myself free.
I just want to say how much I love you right now. Whether you’ve tried it or not, I know you thought about it for a moment and that’s all that matters.
I bet you’re wondering when I’m writing this. I bet you want to know, but you’ll freak out over the truth.
Please tell me.
But if you insist, I’ll go ahead.
I’m in the hospital. I’ve been in the hospital for weeks now, maybe months. I haven’t written in so long my hands ache from withdrawal symptoms. It’s okay, I have my crazy moments.
I guess I’m well enough to type this out for you. I told your Dad for the first time yesterday about my writing habit and my typewriter. I asked him to bring it in for me – why? I wouldn’t tell him.
So that’s why this typewriter is shiny. Dad must clean it.
The real reason I wanted this here? Because I need to do something. I need to talk to you, like this, because I feel it’ll benefit you. I hope it doesn’t make you feel down or tune off completely because I don’t want you to be depressed, or lonely, or sad.
I want you to be happy. I know that what might happen, or will happen, isn’t going to be easy. One minute I’m here and the next, maybe I won’t be. But Bella, I want you to know I don’t want to leave you. I never want to leave you or Dad or tiny little Maizy. But I know I will.
Writing has always come so easily to me but now I’m lost for words. Now, when I try to type out a goodbye, I can’t. There’s so much I want to tell you and so much I need you to know. I’ve never doubted my way of Mothering you but now I feel like I left something missing.
I feel terrible. Bella, I’ve been watching your faces sit beside me all day and all I can do now is cry.
Bella, whenever you arrive to visit me I’m the happiest person ever. Cancer beats people and you all make me feel like I can beat cancer itself.
But when you leave I fall back into darkness.
I hope to see you tomorrow. I hope for you to see this when you’re older and know I appreciated every minute you were beside me.
Now, I’m just letting off thoughts.
I’m getting worse by the day and I don’t know if I can go on.
Oh, Bella and Maizy and everyone.
I love you.
I love you so much I wish I could be at home just watching you fall asleep in your little crib and as you grow up in your big, comfy bed. I would watch you dreaming and think, I wish I had dreamt that big.
Bella, I just, I want you to know that
Flicking over the paper I long for me, I need more.
No more words line the page and no more sentences dig at my emotions.
She never finished because she just…went.
Leaning forward I wipe my face constantly, fighting away the tears that continuously strike my cheeks, tearing me, bit by bit, into shreds. I bang the desk and I scream inside, but all that comes out is a whisper. My throat dry and my face blotchy, I stare at the reflection of myself on the mirror lying against one of the cardboard boxes.
I hardly recognise myself.
Once I really was a daughter my Mother could be proud of. Now, I feel like I’m much worse.
Fighting inside I try to break everything free but I can’t. No matter how hard I try to let go I can’t seem to fight for this freedom I’ve been desperate for for so long.
Turning back to the typewriter, I stare at the keys, letter after letter after letter. Mum touched those keys. Her fingerprints lay on top of them.
So spreading my fingers out across them, and turning over the page of Mum’s sheet, I take a deep breath. What’s to lose for trying to write? Mum did it, so why can’t I?
So in a slow steady movement my fingers reach across the keys, typing, tapping, clicking. It’s not long before I get the speed of it, my fingers a blur across the keys. But it’s not just my fingers blurred; it’s my emotion – the raw emotion I never knew was there – and the fire, my thoughts ablaze in time and set alight for the world, or maybe just me and my Mum, to see.
And she was right. It sounds stupid but it works. For once, I feel free. I feel like the sky’s just opened up and I’ve let go of everything I’ve hated or wanted to forget.
Typing back so fast I feel like I’m replying to her, my Mother. I’m telling her everything I wish I could have told her when she wasn’t here and what she is yet to find out.
I feel like I’m pouring out hot lava and burning the sheets of pure passion in front of me. Her advice seeming worthless, has now cost me everything. But as I end my sentence, my breath hot on my hands, I realise what I’m doing.
I’m completing what she never finished.
Everyone’s capable of starting something, but in time people lose interest; lack of effort; passion. Mum never lost any of them. She wanted to continue what she’d always loved but she couldn’t. Life got in the way and you can’t stop that. So when you’re the one faltering, your dream fading, you need someone there to inspire your ending, prove to you that you can do it, or you have already.
And that’s what I’m doing.
I’m continuing the life, the passionate life, my Mum always wanted.
Just a click, click of the typewriter.
And suddenly, I’m in a whole new world.