What Could I Say?

Published by Lindsay Wardell on

Once, in a dream,
I stood before my younger self.
She looked up at me,

I looked down at her,
and saw her fears,
her worries,
her questions.

What could I say to her?
What could I tell her
of the life she would lead,
of the people she would know?

That within a year,
an entire school would mock her,
and she would feel alone
among her peers?

In a handful more,
she would find friendships,
all while hiding
who she truly was?

“Don’t do that,”
her mom would say,
“they’ll call you a girl.”

Pretending to wear a skirt
while getting dressed
so nobody would know?

Walking the halls of high school,
noticing the other girls,
and wishing only
to be one of them?

What could I say to her
that would even make sense?
Her body changing in all the wrong ways,
living mostly in her mind?

And then whisked away
to unknown lands,
called to serve at the whims
of men who didn’t know her.

“Don’t do that,”
they would say,
“focus on your mission.”

While all she did
was write her feelings
as if they were fiction.

Trying desperately to help,
sharing a message of love,
using flawed tools
to help flawed people.

Standing by when another said,
“You know being gay’s a sin, right?”
And the three men nodded
their heads in shame.

Standing by when young men
abused authority over others
to shout, belittle, and burn,
all in the service of heaven.

Standing by, as a witness,
when a woman was hit by a car,
because she had been told
not to get involved.

What could I say to her then,
wearing a suit and tie,
nametag emblazoned on her pocket,
that could truly ease her guilt?

But soon enough she would
return home, only to begin again.
Home wasn’t the same any more;
how could anything be?

A whirlwind of activity would follow.
Marriage, job, child to love.
Friendships and hobbies cast aside
to serve this new family.

And then, the Discovery.
Writing a note to her wife,
“I think I’m trans,
I’m really scared.”

Who was she?
What truly was the world?
Faith and understanding gone
in the blink of an eye.

What could I say to help
in that moment of utter darkness?
What words could I share to ease
the pain of relearning the world?

Years would pass from then,
slowly becoming who she always was.
Feeling joy in herself
and in her life.

“We should find other partners.”
World shattered again.
The deepest hell coming true;
her wife did not want her as she is.

New grief, new pain,
an entire world unraveling
in anguish and tears.
But at least she had learned to cry.

I stand before her,
from all those years ago,
without the pain of experience
to teach her.

What could I say?
She looked up with eager eyes,
unsure who she was even looking at,
awaiting my next words.

I looked down at her,
the child who did not know
what was to come,
and would not understand.

“I love you.”
I smiled.
So did she.
What else could I say?

Lindsay Wardell
Hi, I'm Lindsay Wardell!

I am a programmer, writer, and mother. I work as a Software Engineer at NoRedInk. I write and talk about Elm, Vue, Vite, and other tools that I enjoy learning about and using.