jenny vu


Dear Five-Year-Old Self

Mom’s a liar, but she means well. Daddy will never be around, and those toys aren’t worth the fight. Everything gets thrown away–and remember to write down when and where you lost your heart because we’re seventeen now, and I can’t find it anymore.

Michael’s turning thirty and I think we’re dying (but I’m not really sure)–Henry will never really like us and Tom loves you more than himself, please remember. Bi walked away and he’ll never come back: computer pieces the only parts of his heart he’ll ever give us, but it’s okay. He loves dogs, and you’ll always be a cat person. 

Kiss a boy, because if you don’t we’ll always regret how we never. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because it always just is.

Ugly’s a state of mind, and listen to yourself: one day we’ll be beautiful soon. 

No amount of money in the world is ever worth Daddy’s time, and he can never hug you enough. Mom’s lipstick will always smell nice, but you taste like vanilla.

When it starts again, cover your ears–you’ll be safe under the bed sheets and it’s okay to cry. The sound of breaking glass will always be our eternal lullaby. You’re cold now, and that’s fine.

You’ll meet a girl, and her name is Chelsea, and remember she’ll love you more than anybody we’ve ever met. Blood isn’t thicker than money, so don’t ever listen to what anyone says. 

Hedgepeth says we’ll always be alone, but I promise we’ll never be lonely, and somewhere inside of us we’ve always eaten babies.

Write about the books you’ve read, because our memory sucks and I’m fading. If you can’t remember anything else–if you can’t remember yourself–remember Daddy, and everything he’s ever said. Remember it’s okay to cry, and remember to always forget how to open the Clorox bottle–remember to always be short enough to never reach the knives, and remember that sadness is infinite and happiness is only temporary.

Remember that you’re funny, remember that you’ll meet boys who’ll tell you you’re beautiful, but it doesn’t matter. Save your heart, don’t be a prude: you’ll be okay.

It doesn’t get easier, but we’re nominated homecoming queen.
Everybody lied: we made it.

You in 500 words or less.

Hi. I’m Jenny Vu.

My dad died when I was twelve, and my mom stopped paying attention long before. I used to joke that I was an orphan in spirit, but sometimes I don’t really think I’m joking anymore.

Every relationship after has been stilted and cold–my heart rendered unable for anything other than week long relationships and friendships I stopped counting. All of my friends have moved on, and I can’t help but feel the world staying still in my hands.

Like a bird in a glass cage I’m stuck in between memories and moments, forgetting to unpause the sequences of my life.

I’m turning eighteen soon, but I’ve been twelve for so long it feels like the world is fading away. I was once told that Childhood is the Kingdom Were Nobody Dies, but everyone’s been stuck in this perpetual state of death I feel like I was never really a kid.

Everybody I’ve ever met falls a bit short, and sleeping is the only thing that ever makes it okay.

I have a cat, and she’s sweet, but she’s extraordinarily ditzy. I don’t remember whether or not my father liked cats–what his voice sounded like… but sometimes, sometimes–I get these rare moments where if I stand perfectly still I can catch his vague scent of Marlboro Reds and Jaiper Homme. I’ve been lost for so long I stopped believing in the world: in people, in moments and feelings.

Sometimes time seems like a memory, and sometimes I feel like he never died. I’ve never been in love. I’ve never been kissed–I’ve never done a lot of things, but I can’t stop this overwhelming feeling of being done.

Sometimes I think I’ve finished my story, my book and I don’t really know what’s left anymore.

My life has been spent in books: in off-white pages covered in the cadence of ink and serifs–my adolescence spent in a protaganists’ shoes and my heart gone between thousands of pages and hard-bound spines. But I don’t want to give up: not yet, not ever.

To whoever’s reading this: to you, to the girl who thinks she’ll never be heard and to the boy who keeps watch on the girl who thinks she’ll never be heard–when you’re frustrated and tired, upset and crying so hard your body won’t stop dry heaving–remember to love yourself. Remember to wake up and enjoy the sun–to bathe in the moon and smile at the sky. We’re children of stars: composed of carbons and atoms and such beautiful, magnificent pieces of science. Remember that it’s not nearly enough to just exist–remember that you’re precious. Remember that you’re loved.

Remember to live.