Don’t be alarmed. This is not a letter confessing my undying love for you. (Although, I have considered writing that letter many times before.)
This is merely a letter of gratitude, of simple thanks. I’m quite certain that you are the only reason I still believe in fairy tales. In perfect endings, in true love. And most importantly, in happily ever after.
Not because you or I have achieved such lofty pursuits either together or apart. But because I can’t help but think, in some alternate universe, you and I found each other at the right time. When both our hearts were ready. And no one else was in between.
And so lived love as it was always meant to be. Without clauses or footnotes or asterisks. Without epitaphs and swan songs.
And if love like that can happen in some alternate universe, then it must exist. And if it exists, then I will never stop believing in it. Even if it’s not meant for me.
So thank you, Ben, for giving me love to always believe in.
Chloe: What did it say?
Me: That he hasn’t stopped thinking about that day.
Chloe: Who even sends letters anymore? That’s so World War II.
Me: That he closes his eyes and it’s like he can almost get back to it. That he goes home each day and locks himself in his room. Draws in the curtains, turns off the lights. Puts “Hear You Me” on repeat on his iPod. Lays down and just dwells in the memory of it.
Chloe: He sent a letter just to tell you that?
Me: He pulls the covers around his chin and one by one, he considers every detail. The torn booth at Waffle House. A waitress with a spider tattoo behind her ear. The smell of burnt coffee and cigarettes and butter and syrup. The long drive. My feet hanging out the passenger seat window. Mustard ballet flats and Jimmy Eat World. Running out of gas around three in the morning. Sprinting hand in hand toward the nearest exit, laughing the whole way. The rain. The rain. The rain. The sting of the tall grass on our ankles. The heat rising off the wet asphalt. A red gas can and a six-pack. The long walk back to the truck. The sunrise over the ocean. The stillness of both of us in the sand. Side by side. Trying to figure out some way, any way, to keep the sun from rising. To keep the night from ending. To stay in that moment forever.
Chloe: I feel like he could have just called.
Me: He said he’s scarred from it. Marred by the flawlessness of it all. He’s terrified nothing will ever compare. That will always be the best there ever was. He doesn’t know how to move past it. He’s not sure he really wants to.
Chloe: Are you going to write back?
Me: Yeah, I guess I will.
Chloe: What are you going to say?
Me: I’ll ask which scares him more, ruining the most perfect thing that has ever happened to him or never knowing if something that great could be even better.
Chloe: That’s it?
Me: Yeah, that’s it.
Chloe: You should probably just send a text.