There she is standing in front of me, her two front teeth missing, her knees scuffed and a thick fringe dusting her eyes. Her Wellington boots are red, and her pink-and-white bunny still has his bow.
What do I tell her... knowing what I do now? Would I tell her anything at all?
At sixteen, my wish was to “write novels and live by the beach.” But at five? The me who lives next door to a field, who dons her Wellies and heads for the stinging-nettled lined path down to Ogmore beach? The one who already knows that life is like that beach sand - gritty, soaked through, and unforgiving.
What would she think about writing? Particularly since all she wanted to do was paint. And read.
So I'd tell her about her other things;
that, yes, sometimes it's safer to hide under the bed with the monsters, rather than be out there in the dark.
that, yes, watching Toby the tortoise, and Barnaby the St. Bernard are pastimes that will welcome you to the solitude of the observer.
that, yes, one day all of those afternoons spent exploring the beach, adventuring through the sheep-filled countryside, and gathering round someone's TV to watch Hulk and Wonder Woman, will be the things that keep your soul going in the times when you really don't want to put those red-booted feet one in front of the other...
But she wouldn't believe me.