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Tomorrow

Laura!
It’s tomorrow! Already. Twenty-years-plus tomorrow. I’ve just received your letter. Australia Post is amazing – I’ve moved thirty-one times since 1990. When you get my reply in 2030 you’ll be fifty-two and have just given birth to your first child (they’ll have worked that out by then). But I hope instead that the post-lady rides this back to you at the start of the ’90s. I hope she knows where to find you. I’ll address it:

Laura Jean McKay
Age twelve
The chipboard desk looking over the horse paddock
Roseleigh Farm, Sale, Gippsland

You’ll be listening to a tape of yourself playing every part in the Maffra Amateur Theatre Society production of Annie so you can learn your lines.

GRACE: This is Annie, Mr Warbucks. The orphan who will be with us for the Christmas holidays.
WARBUCKS: The orphan? But that’s not a boy. Orphans are boys.
GRACE: I’m sorry, sir, you just said ‘orphan’. So, I chose a girl.
WARBUCKS: Oh. Well, I suppose she’ll have to do. (To Annie, assessing her) Annie, huh? Annie what?
ANNIE (frightened, confused): Sir?
WARBUCKS: What’s your last name, child?
ANNIE (nervously): Oh, I’m just Annie, sir. Mr Warbucks. I haven’t got any last name. That I know of.
WARBUCKS: So, you’re just Annie, huh? Just Annie.

If this letter gets to you a few years late, the post-lady will need to look underneath that desk, where you’ll be fourteen and writing poetry by candlelight, and listening to your makeup-ed men megamix – Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter, together at last on one mixed tape. But this letter really needs to find you at twelve. I’ll express post it, urgent, for tomorrow.

 

Read the rest of this letter in Women of Letters published by Penguin, 2012.