Dear Old Love Letters,
I found you, in the bottom of the big old box. There you were, tucked away safely, all this time. You have stayed so true, so loyal over all these last thirty years. You have not seen the light of day nor felt the warmth of hand to open you and turn your sweet pages. Thank you for your patience, and knowing, that perhaps now was the perfect time to find you. Read you. Rediscover you.
As life brings closure on a significant chapter of life, you bring me back, so sweetly and innocently, to the one that began the history of them all. The first.
It’s been thirty years since you were penned and mailed, with a stamp that cost twenty cents. It’s been thirty years since your words have been read and savored. Thirty years since feeling that flutter of happiness upon seeing the yellow envelope on my dresser when I got home from school.
You were written for a sixteen year old girl, and you were written long before you could ever know that letting those words flow freely from your yet unbruised heart would begin the first of all bruises yet to follow. Your wordy news and little updates of seemingly mundane moments pre-date any form of text messaging that today, would surely consume hours of our days. Every little detail, so important.
Your sweet innocence and vulnerability is almost too much…
“My mind is on other things, so I decided to write to that one other thing – you!”
Your uninhibited words play across the pages – the slightly sappy, but so very endearing Snoopy stationery, chosen by your author – in your own unique way; you convey his heart, his thoughts, his cute little sighs. You reveal a heart as yet unbroken. You tell me that I am missed, appreciated, and while the word graces not the page, in between the lines it’s there. A naive first love.
To find you now is perfect really. A time of re-calibration. A time of reflection. A time of being intentional. A time of new direction. It’s like you knew, that you waited for me somehow. You remind me what is possible. You remind me that the heart is beautiful, resilient and wise. And that the telling of one’s heart is in fact an act of courage.
“I’m sure extra glad that things are working out with your parents about me. If I come up to visit, I’ll probably get real nervous and blow it though. So, they said it’s ok to come up and visit and stuff? Well, I’m interested in the stuff 🙂 “
Letters, you are a landmark of sorts; a familiar, even if so very vague, place worth remembering, perhaps keeping an eye out for. I would like to somehow convey to your author – the sweet boy who was brave enough to pen his heart on your pages for me, for to be so transparent is truly an act of bravery – how grateful I am. That he owns a corner of my heart. Always. How could he not?
“I sure had a super great time on Sat. Thanks! We didn’t do much, but it didn’t matter. Just being with you made it worth it.”
Letters, sweet old letters, thank you for staying safely tucked away and finding me again all these years later. I grin and blush just thinking about you and feel almost sixteen again. I am comforted by your presence, for the 16 year old girl then, and the woman now old enough to be her mother. Like muscle memory, our hearts have a memory too. It is good.
*These letters are real, and were from my first boyfriend when I was 16 yrs old and he 19. We met while working together at a summer camp. I attended his wedding years later and we danced together, talking and sharing, knowing we’d always think fondly of the other. While I congratulated him on his big day, and said I wished he and his bride so much joy, I told him I still had his letters. He said he still had mine.
I could tell you what happened or who broke who’s heart, but when a first love ends, isn’t it both hearts that twist and crumple, never to be quite the same ever again?
How the story ended is not so important as remembering the sheer openness and accessibility. Every girl should be so lucky to have letters so sweet and that remind her that she’s been cherished in the eyes of another.