Marie-Emmanuelle Monfort

Rockabye Boat

How lovely it sings; silence
It echoes in my ears with such softness
As a complementary lullaby from the waters
Makes dragonflies dance and showoff their colors 

See the magic that stillness uncovers
When you become the center 
And all around you is motion and sound
The unknown suddenly becomes known 

Who would have thought?
A boat ride offering some food for thought
Caught on a pillar of branches
I sit in silence, seeing the changes

The simple things of life are indeed sweet 
Like watching the shimmering of the water fleet
Gazing in the air as a gentle breeze brushes your cheek
Animals on the bank coming closer for a sneak peek

Breathing. Nature provides the best perfume
Life giving and subtle, your lungs bloom
Body relaxed, there is nothing to do but be
Admire, smile, rest, close your eyes, be free

It’s a simple boat ride in a delicate stance
Rocking to the rhythm of surrounding circumstance
Caught on a pillar of branches
While I enjoy how my moment changes

June 20, 1951
Dear Stranger,

            You might find it intriguing and yet odd to have found this letter on the floor intended for you to read. Yes, you are the stranger that has been chosen to read about the intimate thoughts of an individual who you have a very slim chance of ever meeting. I am however concerned about one thing, your personality. I hope you are kindhearted, curious, compassionate, patient and enjoy life regardless of the misfortunes you might have experienced. It’s important, because I’m sharing a fragment of my memories with you, and it’s a special one. Reading this letter will automatically make you my phantom friend and accomplice. You’re the only phantom friend I’ll have, so I hope you are a good person. At the same time, I trust that the Universe picked you as the worthy keeper of my memory.

             How clumsy of me! I haven’t even introduced myself. Remember me as Mary. Three weeks ago, I went to England with six other remarkable and distinguished young ladies. What led us together was the joy of writing. Complete strangers to each other, we applied to a study abroad program at our college focusing on creative writing. You would love these ladies as I loved spending time with them. It was a great experience of sisterhood with so many women in such a short period of time. What was even more interesting about our group was the different cultural backgrounds we came from, which this not stop us from bonding. I would want to call it coincidence that we all got along so well, but I believe it was meant to be. Do you believe in coincidences?

             Living with them for 15 days revealed to me their personalities all so different and admirable. I found in each of them a quality that I regard with esteem, which influenced me to do some retrospection about my own personality. The first person I would like to introduce to you is Scarlett. The first time I met Scarlett, frankly, I found her odd. She would keep to herself and talk so little. But once you were able to go beyond the surface of the seemingly shy girl, you discovered a fun and great companion. Even when no words were being exchange, her presence was always great to have. She’s a good listener, and she has a gentle way of speaking. The calmness that surrounds her is what I loved the most. Scarlett is like a blue bird. Whatever thoughts of a blue bird provoke in you, well that’s what she is.  

            Then there is Leyla. She is such a jolly lady, very sociable and demonstrates a joy of living. When we started hanging out with each other, I told myself I wanted to adopt the same kind of open and talkative characteristics she possesses. She would sometimes step up to random individuals and start a conversation out of nothing. While wondering how I could be like her, I told myself that I cannot possibly want to possess every quality I like in a person. I have my own I can develop, because everybody has characteristics that makes them memorable. I concluded that I would simply admire this bundle of joy that she was and be happy that I encountered such a person. Anyhow, the positive people you tend to like to surround yourself with are a reflection of you or a hidden self. Unconsciously, Leyla had taught me a lesson.

            Leyla’s roommate was named Anastasia. She’s the one I felt closest to. Maybe it’s because we are both Pisces and that she’s born on the date of my favorite number, March 6. Whatever the case may be, she is the most passionate and sweetest woman I’ve ever met in my age range (19-22 years old). There is honesty in her words, kindness in her heart and at times frailty in her voice. She is an advocate for women’s empowerment, which I can relate to, and very protective when it comes to her friends. Do not be fooled by her innocent looks, she’s like a tigress watching over her cubs. This aspect of her stood out the most for me. I hope this friendship last long, and if not, I’m glad I meet her.

            Anastasia would sometimes comment on how  “cute “ and “adorable “ my roommate Christie is. Christie has a sweet personality, and an obsession with the British book series Doctor Who. If the opportunity came up, she would talk on how a certain situation reminded her of Doctor Who. Her face would literally shine if she heard or saw anything related to Doctor Who.  Imagine her behavior and excitement if he appeared in front of her! Besides that, I don’t think I could have had a better roommate. Christie is a night owl and I’m an early bird. What better combination! I took the habit of waking her up in the morning. After a certain time, whenever I would come near to wake her up, it’s as if she felt my presence and would open her eyes before I could even lay one finger on her. A connection was definitely made. I love her openness and enjoy the little remarks she would make about anything that caught her attention.  I wonder where has she’s been all this time.


            Next up is Runaway Train. Don’t get confused now, this is a pseudonym we gave to Farah, the youngest of us all. On one of our mandatory walks, she surprised everyone with the speed in which she walked. She would always be in the back of the group, but on that day it was pouring and it was muddy; I guess she was fed up from walking in this kind of condition. Sarah is eccentric and spontaneous. Her spontaneous attitude and her high pitched voice would startled us at times, and we would wonder what is wrong with her; in all good humor of course. One of the things about Farah that made me thoughtful is how she stuck to how she felt about certain things. If she claimed to dislike something, best believe that she didn’t. On the other hand, when she liked something she would show it all the love in the world.

            The last and wisest of us all was Heather. I call her wise because she’s an old soul.  There is something about Heather in the way she speaks and how passionate she talks or comments about a subject. She can say something really mundane and make it seem like it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard. There seems to be a mystery in her aura that I just can get a hang of. She’s curious and intelligent, interesting, bloomy, adventurous and sociable. As a witness, I can tell you she also know how to hold her liquor! If I had a second big sister, I would want her to be just like Heather.

            Here you have it, my precious memory about six wonderful young ladies. I haven’t spoken much about their flaws, because I haven’t lived with them long enough to precisely point them out. If it weren’t the case, I would tell you every bit of them, because their flaws along with their qualities are what make them special. My trip to England has brought forth a couple of revelations about myself through these ladies. The path that we each take in life is unique and interesting to ponder on. The impact that people have on us can affect us in ways we would not notice at the moment it is taking place. These girls are not people I would have imagined to be friends with. This is how life works, it puts you in a situation and you make discoveries about yourself, about others and now your future has probably took another route from these discoveries; probably a better route.

                       I must not forget to mention how amazed I was from the sight of the gorgeous landscape we had the pleasure (and torture) of hiking. I would tell you more about the concept behind this study abroad program, but that is not what I want you to remember. Remember me, remember how life brings people together, remember these girls.  We live in a small world sir/mam, you never know if faith will lead one of us or someone similar on your path the same way this letter did.