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 Nina Vallard 

Nina is  

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Dear Lille

 

How long has it been? I feel awful that I haven't visited you for years. I don't know where the time has gone. I think about you often, I remember the decades I spent promising myself that I was going to learn French so I could speak to you easier - the two lessons I had in college, the ebook and audio CD. I know I didn't try as hard as I should have.

 

But you always made the effort to understand me. The patience you had!

 

I painted a picture of you and put it on my wall. My partner keeps asking about you, I mean, we look at you in bed so the subject had to come up. I don't think I did you justice, but I was proud of the swirly dark blue sky and when the light hits you your texture seems to come alive. You have some wonky lines but that was my shaky hands.

 

I was trying to remember the ladies we met, the tattooists who I idolised. I wanted to be them, do you remember? I think one was called Sinnah. I tried to look her up and I found some old photos, but her portfolio was long gone. I'd hoped we'd bump into her again, and maybe she'd tattoo my calf.

 

Regardless, I thought I'd write to say that the distance between us feels like it's getting bigger. That saddens me, and I feel like I didn't do enough to prevent that. I know I probably just sound like I'm trying to salve my conscience. But I want to fix things. I don't know where to begin.

 

I kept hoping I'd return to you in my later years. I am studying to be a counsellor and selling my writing. I was aiming to start a counselling business from a cabin where we all create art and talk about ways to heal ourselves. I'd even named our dog in my mind.

But that was my problem, wasn't it? I spent so long in my head that I didn't fight for you.

I understand if you don't forgive me. But you're always in my heart.

 

Love Nina