Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Marriage, Memoir, Nostalgia, Personal | 20 comments

Heart Quote and Image
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 and 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, impotent. 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.

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Instead, I poked a bear.

I lit a fuse.

I was wrong.

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He saw my act as one of aggression or bitterness or full-on bitch…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.

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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.

You’re special.

I didn’t understand the why of it, but it was enough to seed hope.

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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.

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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.