Published by Open Love Letters


"My Queen of Scots,

I miss you. No words I write will ever do you justice but I have to try. I wonder if I would miss you less if I felt I had done a better job of showing you how much I loved you before you slipped away that night? I doubt it. I’d sent you a Whatsapp message in the afternoon:

I love you. I'll see you tomorrow!

You were too sick to reply but you read it. When I’m alone, it’s impossible not to think about how much more you deserved. I go over and over everything else I should have said until I fall asleep. I should have thanked you. I should have made you laugh. I’ve been thinking about you every day in self-isolation. You’d love this: when I think of you, I still see you with your eyes shining, smiling, more beautiful than anyone ever really knew how to explain.

The only respite of your having left us is that you managed to do it somewhat peacefully, on your own watch. Your lungs were weak. If you’d been alive once the pandemic hit, it would have been the thing to take you away. My Mum wouldn’t have been able to see you, hold your hand, bring you sandwiches, brush your hair. That’s my one comfort, thinking of you two together, knowing how much you loved each other and that you had the opportunity to show it.

I am full of apologies you’ll never hear. I’m sorry for being a far-away teenager, there but not really, arsed but not really. I’m sorry for not always replying to your intricately crafted text messages. I’m sorry for letting you miss me. I’m sorry for avoiding you when you got ill. I’m sorry for looking away from your ventilator. I’m sorry for never having enough time. I see now that all the time I had should have been yours, without doubt.

Sometimes I see women that remind me of you and I look for too long. Patsy Cline sounds different now. I have to say it again: I miss you. You were warm, you were lovely. And you were my blood. You had such a life! I always told you I wanted to write a book about it. You told me you were ashamed of some of the things you’d done. You were always so honest. Maybe too honest, at some ages, but I admire you for it. Why wouldn’t you tell your best friend everything? I know that’s what we were, for years.

Growing up with you in that high-rise Salford flat, I should have been bored, but I wasn’t. You taught me how to make omelettes and apply lipstick and there was no limit on spoonfuls of sugar in my tea. You let me parade around in your most expensive clothes and you cried when I sang ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie even though my voice broke on the high notes and I sounded rubbish. You told me I was beautiful in a way so matter-of-fact that it took me years to doubt it. You fed what felt like all of Oakhill Court, every night. I reaped the rewards, a book here, a choc-ice from your neighbour’s freezer there. Everybody loved you: so ahead of your time, so generous, so good at advice. Never in any of our lifetimes will there be another you. You should have had more time. It’s not fair. But it’s like you always said, “life’s not fair, hen”. 

I wish I believed in heaven. I’m glad you did.

Love, Kya"