I Found a Letter from Seven Year-Old Me
I was doing some summer cleaning the other night when I stumbled across an old box that I had almost forgotten about. It was a simple brown cardboard box with IMPORTANT STUFF written on the side in my mother’s handwriting in black marker. I had been sort of a packrat when I was little, and my mother had given me the box with the instruction that I would put anything that was important to me inside, and everything else had to be donated or thrown away. When I got older and had more stuff I wanted to keep, I would trade things out to make space, and what I was left with was a miscellany of things that had once been vitally important for one reason or another. It had been about ten years since I last opened the box, and as I shuffled through the memorabilia, I found layers of memories from my childhood that had long been forgotten.
Most of it was old toys that I had outgrown but was too fond of to throw away or donate, but there was also a healthy helping of pictures, report cards, artwork, and so on. It was getting late anyway; the sun had long since set and dinner had come and gone a few hours before, so I decided that maybe I’d end the day by sorting through the box to see what, if anything, I could get rid of, but mostly to enjoy the trip down memory lane.
Among the layers of 90’s memorabilia, I found my old Tamagotchi, my dragon sky dancer, a few Star Wars and Street Sharks action figures, and a couple beanie babies which I couldn’t help but look up only to discover that they are still worth absolutely nothing.
As I went down through the years layered in the box, I found tucked on the side, a manila folder. I picked it up and thumbed through it, finding some poorly drawn pictures of my old dog, my family, some old school homework which I had been particularly proud of, and among these things, a single white page written in black crayon.
I pulled this paper out to get a better look at it, and the more I scanned the page, searching for meaning, the more I found myself gripped with an unusual sense of unease. There were no pictures or anything – no robots or monsters – just lines scrawled out in the handwriting of my youth.
This is what it said:
Gott ist tot
Bog je mrtav
Gud er død
Dieu est mort
Tuhan telah mati
Ego istum necavi
I’ve provided a picture as well here.
I have no idea what any of it means, but like I said, it makes me feel strange. Looking at that paper gave me a foggy sense of remembrance, like Deja Vu except more ethereal and distant – a memory behind a memory. Unlike all the other pictures and projects in the box, I have no clear recollection of ever having created this. It seems like my handwriting, and my peculiar letter shape is consistent with the rest of the papers I’d collected from about first or second grade, but I have absolutely no idea when I wrote it or why I kept it.
I don’t know much about language, but I do know that there are certain identifying factors that distinguish a made-up language from what would essentially be alphabet soup, and something about these lines makes me think that this is something more than just random letters from a seven-year-old. I have no reason to believe that this means anything at all, and it probably doesn’t, but I can’t seem to shake this sense of foreboding I have whenever I look at this page. It’s a carnal feeling that I can’t quite describe other than maybe the feeling a gazelle has just before it bolts from a lioness on the prowl. It doesn’t know definitively there’s danger, but it just kind of senses it in the air and acts before it finds its neck in the jaws of a predator. That’s how I feel now – like something’s not quite right, something is in the air that I don’t like. Maybe I’m just being paranoid here, I don’t know, but does anyone else get a strange feeling when looking at this page? I’m going to try to see if I can figure out what it says, if it even says anything at all.