The Daily Prompt’s Writing Challenge By Heart means so much to me, and is so appropriate for the day. The prompt reads: You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?
I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don’t remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that god was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl’s grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew. Sara did, I didn’t. In 2002, I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn’t have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn’t look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. I’d always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, “The Salt Flats”. It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America’s war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London. After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone. I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like “collateral” and “rendition” became frightening. While things like Norse Fire and The Articles of Allegiance became powerful, I remember how different became dangerous. I still don’t understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. It wasn’t long till they came for me. It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie
This is appropriate because it’s from V for Vendetta, the movie about the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. Today is the fifth of November, and the plot was attempted 409 years ago, exactly.
It seems like a random quote to know by heart, but in 2007, I was taking a degree-required public speaking class. It was autumn, and before that class, I usually had an hour to kill, so I would visit a dear professor, Mark Johnston. On the day that I had to present a monologue, the one above, I waited outside of the professor’s class, and to my surprise, a different professor walked out. When I asked about Professor Johnston, I was instructed to speak to the secretary upstairs regarding his teaching status. That was when I learned that Professor Johnston’s cancer had returned and he was no longer going to be teaching at the university.
With the heavy news, I still went on to class, and said my piece with absolutely no recollection at all. Both the professor and the students praised my performance, which had a level of soul and honesty to it. Maybe it was the pain of hearing that my favorite professor was never coming back.
Professor Johnston passed away on November 27, 2007, at the age of 62. I was even asked to write his memorial piece for the Quinnipiac Chronicle.
This prompt helped me remember an old assignment (that seemed impossible at the time), a fantastic movie, and an even better mentor and friend. I know of no reason why any of these things should ever be forgot.