Ours wasn’t a fairytale romance. It was the kind of courtship that lasted years, where the heart is batted and bruised, where we both made damn sure the other was The One.
Oh, sweet youth…where one dares to presume to k n o w such things!
There were break-ups and make-ups, more than a few, and though I can’t remember them all, I remember the hardest. It would be our last one.
It was when I moved to another state with hours between us. Much more than geography pushed us apart. Absence was not fertile ground for hearts to grow fonder.
We were honest about our choices and I knew he was seeing others. Well, Other, but then, again, so was I. Except his fling was serious enough to garner a parental introduction.
I hated her.
Nothing I said made a difference, my manipulations, powerless. In fact, the harder I tried, the more he resisted.
In a last-ditch effort to Show Him How Much I Cared, I made a dramatic attempt to turn things around.
I boxed up all the gifts and letters he had given me over four years and mailed them to him. Surely that would let him know how much I loved him, how hurt I was.
Instead, I poked a bear.
I lit a fuse.
I was wrong.
He saw my act as one of aggression or bitterness or full-on crazy…I’m not sure which. Probably all. To this day, I stand by my motive – an injured heart makes curious choices – but his interpretation never wavered.
It’s likely I’ve never seen him that mad, before or since. Except because we were living hours apart in different states, I didn’t actually see his rage, I only heard it.
And then he went silent.
This was before the invention of cell phones and when the internet was barely existent–Lord only knows how I would have behaved had those weapons been at my disposal. I imagine I would have pushed him to change his number and email.
I was distraught.
Not eating, not sleeping, and barely able to work, it required every ounce of strength, restraint and resolve I had not to call him. Days turned into weeks. I endured eternity in each one.
And then one day I received an envelope in the mail without a return address. Its postmark was from his hometown.
I ripped it open to find a single, lined 3×5 index card with two words scrawled in its center, the familiar handwriting his thumbprint.
I didn’t understand the why of it, but it was enough to seed hope.
Later, I would find out it was a thing they had done in a small group he was in, months prior. His leader had passed out pencils, blank index cards and envelopes. He instructed them to write a word of encouragement to someone, slip it in the envelope, seal and address it. He would hold onto them for a while and mail them at some unknown point in the future.
I think it arrived on the day I needed it most.
I read it a thousand times.
He had likely forgotten he had even written it and had no idea I received it.
What came next is a little fuzzy, but I know that was a first step in finding our way back to one another. It was a door cracking open.
It was one of the strongest lessons I’ve ever received in the power of words, in the power of written words. The memory is stapled to the top of my heart.
We would be married within the year.
Over 26 years later, we still are.
Bullseye for youthful presumption.
Creative Commons photo source.
This story made me all shivery. So very beautiful.
That’s a good thing, right? 🙂
Ah, Love you have to fight for…the kind that comes with battle scars! Sounds somewhat fairy-tale-ish in ways. It sounds very real and authentic. Thank you for once again sharing your heart as it spills out in your words, dear Robin!
It definitely was real…I felt every minute.
Oh wow. That’s amazing. Yea God!!
So much of your story sounds like mine/ours. We’re celebrating 29 years this weekend. Yea God!!
Shelly, 29? That’s fantastic!! Hope y’all have a wonderful celebration. xo
Great story, Robin. So glad it turned out well. :>)
Me, too, friend. Me, too.
What a story! Wow. Simply wow.
“We were together…I forget the rest.” ~ Walt Whitman
Oh, Bebe–I love that! Thanks for sharing it.
What a romance story!!
I wish my story could be like that one. My story is simple. Go on to Yahoo.com search a while then post a monicker an wait. Finally “Mr. Right” writes me and we communicate for 3 weeks. Then comes the blind date. Went so well that he asked me out again. That’s when I knew I would marry him. We dated 10 weeks from November through December. I got the courage to ask his hand in marriage. After thinking some he proposed to me. We’ve been together 10 years now.
It is a marriage/love worth fighting for. We’ve been through a lot in our short time together.
Thanks for telling your story Robin!
I dunno, Beth…YOURS is a pretty great story :).
SUCH a great story! Haunting and beautiful.
Suzie!! Thank you for popping over from Instagram :). I can’t believe I haven’t written it before now…it’s one of those “big” ones in our history. To me, anyway :).
It’s amazing what a difference 2 words can make, right?
I love a happy ending 🙂
Me, too, Lyli; I’m a sucker for ’em :).
I want this to be a version of my story……….when the part happens where he decides he wants me…….
Your story will be perfectly wonderful when it writes itself, Rebecca…I believe that. But I know until you KNOW how it will end, days seem torturously FOREVER.