I have three days until Valentines Day. I sit at my polished mahogany desk, Tchaikovsky thundering behind me, and ponder how to further woo Julie, the woman Im falling in love with. I consider taking her out of town for the weekend, but a lack of funding precludes a trip. I could send her flowers if I hadnt sent her roses a month prior. Maybe I should take her out to dinner-- no, a simple dinner reeks of simplicity.
Hmm, I mumble, what can we do thats romantic and doesnt cost very much? It comes to me in a flash of insight: I can replay our first date. The plan crystallizes as our first date replays through my mind. Well journey to the beach in the afternoon. Well eat at that little pizza place. What did they call it? Oh, yeah; its named Felipes. Sentimental value increases the greasy joints romantic appeal. After dinner, Ill offer her my arm and we will meander down the boardwalk preceding sunset. When our feet bring us below the Pacific Palms Hotel where our lips first touched, Ill kiss her again. When our intimate embrace concludes, Ill guide her farther along the boardwalk to the gray concrete bench we held each other on that beautiful night. Sitting on that too-uncomfortable bench, I will cradle her in my arms and watch the sun slide below the horizon. My body shivers as I envisage holding her tight to keep her warm. Well sit there, with her wrapped tightly in my arms, and watch the day fade.
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Confusion besets me. Where should I go from there? I cant expect her to want to just leave after that sacred moment. It needed something more. My right calf muscle spasms as I wade through the possibilities. Nothing comes to me that seems perfect. Once again, inspiration shakes me. Ill write her a letter! A long, poetic sharing of how I care for her. After the sun sets, Ill give her the letter and watch her beautiful face as she reads it. I love to watch her lips move ever-so-slightly while she peruses the page.
My computer earns a mere glance as I reject the notion of typing her a love letter. So much meaning becomes lost when something it typed rather than handwritten. I want her to utterly understand every nuance of my words when she reads them. Rather, I tug open the stubborn left desk drawer and reach inside for stationary. Irresolute, I let it flop back in to the drawer, nudge it shut, and stretch for my maroon, one inch school binder instead. Better to get some ideas down on some economical paper before I graduate to the more expensive sheets. Snapping open the rings I obtain four sheets, place them on the desk, and relegate my the binder to the floor. Reaching into the front pouch of my charcoal canvas Jansport book bag I, retrieve my favorite blue mechanical pencil.
With my weapon in hand and the target lying before me, I commence my brainstorming. Immediately, ideas bombard me. My pencil scrawls, Places to talk about: beach, Olive Garden (our first dinner), hotel. . . concerts: Vegas, Cox Arena. . . I can barely scratch them all down. I only have time to write general ideas before ten more dash through my mind. For every two thoughts I catch, three are lost forever to me. Every second a new thought pushes out old ones whether I have them written or not. So many things to tell her. I feel pressured. How can I possibly get them all? My hand cramps. I wont allow myself to rest for fear of missing any whisper of an idea. Sweat drips from my nose to the paper and I dont bother to brush it away. The paper swells as I continue the frenzied rate.
SLAM! I smack a mental wall. Nothing fresh enters my mind. For the first time I lean back and look at my very soul splayed upon the paper before me. With surprise, I note that I actually have two pages of notes. Words clog every open space, even the margins, of the first page. The second page has almost as little free space as the first. It takes me a moment to puzzle through what I have written. Elation fills me. What an amazing thing Ive done. I could write a fifteen-page letter with all of this! I know that with this page of abbreviated feelings, I can tell Julie just how much I cared for her.
A languid stretch readies me for the actual writing of the letter. Reaching back into the brown lacquered desk drawer I remove a stack of sky blue stationery. Setting it reverently on the desk I sigh. I know the bulk of the work lies before me. A Doctors handwriting can be decrypted with greater ease than mine. Even when I put in the utmost effort it still appears disheveled and clumsy. Every time I write a letter I wish that I had tried harder with my letters as a child. After a short prayer for God to prevent mistakes I commit the first words to paper.
I find no inspiration for the introduction so I begin simply: My dearest Julie. I concentrate on the flow of my writing, ensuring that each sentence embraces the last, the letters melody all the while resonating through my body. The harmony traps me and Tchaikovsky fades to oblivion. I lose myself to the words. My hand tingles and I stop, knowing that not ceasing will reduce my legibility to that of an autistic-blind monk with epilepsy! I look over the pages, and grunt in approval.
Thankfully, they can easily be understood and there are no major mistakes. More importantly, the music plays when read.
I shake blood and life back into my fingers and recommence the song. Before I can even start I feel an irresistible desire to construct a simple list. It will comprise many of the things I love about her: your smile, the way you bites your lip, that you laughs at my jokes, even the stupid ones, how you hold my hand as soon as Im within reach, etc. The inventory complete, I begin the song anew. The clock hands spin as I line used ideas from my notes.
Finally I lean back in the too uncomfortable chair and admire my work. I know shell love it. A circus of butterflies performs acrobatics in my stomach as I think about giving it to her. Everything that runs through my cranium lies exposed in those pages. What would she think? Doubts fill me. My body begins feeling wrung out like Ive just competed in the Ironman. Then, remembering the words of a wise man, my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Butler, I became calm. In seventh grade I had a huge crush on Andrea Huggins, an all too cute blonde in my class. The school had scheduled a dance on Friday and I wanted immensely to ask her to attend it with me. Fear stayed my proposal and I went to Mr. Butler to glean advice concerning my dilemma. The knowledge he imparted was so simple. He told me, You know, Dave, he who hesitates goes stag. Ive always remembered those words when any fear of failure has gripped me. Ive applied it to every aspect of my life. I will give Julie my !
letter. I will bare my heart to her and see if she makes me go stag.