I remember one day, bored at my aunt’s house. My two older cousins were probably out with girlfriends, and the little ones were taking naps. A small, wobbly bookshelf full of books called me into the semi-darkness of the living room–a welcome invitation in a hot summer day.

And there, wedged between two fat books I can’t remember was Richard’s Bach Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul. I think I was in fifth grade, because my next memory is of reading passages of it to my desk partner, a girl named Florencia who smiled like an angel. I read her passages of the book, so excited to share the gems that made my heart burn with the discovery of so many wonderful possibilities. That we can do whatever we set our minds to, that we have no idea of our potential, that I could materialize anything I wanted into my life.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who read Richard’s books. Some of them are still great friends of mine. One of the things he mentioned in one of his books–because after Messiah, I devoured them all–was the concept of parallel universes, of what you could tell your younger self if you could.

Last night, for the first time in a long time, I thought of this concept.

During family dinner the kids were asking me about all the pets I had in my life. I don’t know why, but I told them about Pamela, a tiny dachshund that my father gave me when I was seven. She was a pest. I see it now that I’m a mother. But back then, I couldn’t understand why my mom, tired of cleaning after the dog, gave her away.

When I finished telling the story, I realized my Chubbers was gone. I found her crying in her room. When she saw me, she ran to me and hugged me so, so tight. “I’m so sorry about your dog, mami,” she said between hiccups.

Maybe in a parallel universe, a seven year-old Yamile is crying her heart out over her little dog. I hope she can feel the chubby arms around her neck, and the wet kiss on the cheek trying to console her.

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One response to “Because I loved Richard Bach’s books when I was little.”

  1. Julie Daines says:

    I love this story. Your Chubbers is so cute! And if I could talk to younger me, I think I would have a lot to say.

Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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