In a new series that I will inevitably forget about after two or so posts, I thought I’d write letters to fictional characters. The first is to Rachel Robinson, of Here’s to you Rachel Robinson fame.
Dear Rachel Robinson,
I’m writing to you now, as you turn 38, to check in with you. The last I heard of you, you were finishing seventh grade, and about to head to music camp to relax after a stressful few months.
So what’s happened in the intervening years? First of all, I hope you have managed to find a way to relax, and realise that happiness does not necessarily lay in perfection. As a thirteen year old, you imagined that anything other than an A was a failing grade and that you had to say yes to everything that your teachers asked you to do. Who knows why they thought that you’d be a good candidate for Natural Helpers? You were (and I’m sure are) brilliant at a good many things, but a natural peer counsellor? Possibly not.
In your biography you mapped out three distinct careers for yourself, something that seems perfectly feasible aged 13, but entirely impossible once you have a little perspective. I imagine that you probably graduated top of your college class, and went on to practice law, like your mum or, more likely in my opinion, medicine. Maybe, given the difficulties your brother Charles had, you went into psychology and became a therapist. Or maybe you became a world-famous cardio-thoracic surgeon.
Talking of Charles, I wonder what happened. There did seem to be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel; it felt that by the end of your story, you were starting to discover ways to deal with him, that you might be able to connect with him in a way that wasn’t instantly antagonistic. I hope that he got the help he needed, and you were able to enjoy your teenage years without the constant worry of the havoc he was wreaking on your family. It’s hard to realise when you are so close to something, but hopefully time has given you the perspective you need to realise that he was a kid who was hurting, and lashing out was the only way he knew how to deal with that.
And what about your best friends? Stephanie and Alison both had their own issues at home, and you seemed so different from them, that I have to wonder if your friendship survived into high school. I’ve been there with people that I grew up with that I suddenly had nothing in common with at 14, so if this happened to you, I hope it was an amicable break and that you found other people to share your high school experiences with. Of course, there’s every possibility that you remained best friends with them, and now you are older, and possibly living in different parts of the country, you see each other infrequently, but it’s just like old times when you do catch up. I bet you still reminisce about the time that Jeremy Dragon kissed you, and discuss what happened when you saw him again after music camp (what did happen?!).
Most of all, Rachel, I hope you’re happy. I hope you realised that your parents would still love you if you weren’t at the top of all of your classes, or if you decided to skip a club or a programme to just have fun with your friends. I hope that as you got older, you stayed true to your belief that ‘normal’ and ‘average’ aren’t the same thing, and that it’s OK to want different things from the people around you.