Monday, September 27, 2010

Where was I?


Disclaimer:  This is incredibly cheesy.  It took me several hours to write, and the length reflects that.  If you want to skip this one, I will not fault you for that--I tried to make it more exciting by adding a few pictures.  I now understand why people hire ghost writers for their autobiographies--it's really hard to be concise while writing from your own memory!

Let's see...when we left off, it was July 13th, 1997 and I had just left the hotel where I met my future hubby, paper scrap in hand.  The next day was euphoric.  I was in a love-drunk stupor, feeling like every love song on the radio was speaking to me personally.

My performing arts camp began on the 14th, so as soon as I got home I packed up my sheet music, some clothes, my paper scrap, and drove the three hours to sing, dance, and act for the next seven days straight.  The camp (or "institute", as they called it) was being held at the University where I would be studying musical theater in the fall.  I had been looking forward to this for months, but now it was almost a chore to go.

On the second night there, I lay in my bed, unable to sleep, and wrote the sappiest, most straight-forward love letter possible.  In fact, it may be the sappiest love letter ever written.  I went to the trouble of transcribing it for you all here, just in case anyone needed pointers on how to write a gushy, cheesy love letter.  Here it is, in all it's glory (please be kind, I was 17):

July 14th, 1997

Dear R,

Hello!  How are you?  I realize that you were going to write first and send me my tattoo and tape of Jewel on MTV & VH1 & such, but I had to write you…I miss you so much already.  Meeting you has affected me in more ways than I ever thought possible.  I have never “clicked” with someone the way I did with you—we were so in synch.  You left me feeling these incredible feelings I have never even come close to ever feeling before, and not just because you complimented me so heavily (however, that didn’t hurt either!)

I’m sorry if I’m scaring you off by telling you how I really, truly feel about you, but it’s the truth.  You are the most beautiful person I have ever met, and I know that if I don’t get it out in the open and tell you all of this, I may miss my chance.  You see something of beauty in everything and I can’t tell you how much I admire that.  You are a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a life-long goal, and I adore you for it.  You look unbelievable—maybe a teensy bit like Lou Diamond Phillips, but you’re much more handsome.  You are the most accepting person I have ever met in my life—a quality I seek in everyone I meet, but never seem to be able to find.  You are the most talented person I’ve ever met, and I would LOVE to hear one of your songs someday.  You are the most sensitive guy I’ve ever met, which also makes you the best…I’m also a true romantic, but have never found a man who was likewise—until now, that is.

Okay, I know…I’m sorry if you don’t like to hear about how wonderful you are, but it’s all true.  I could write several pages on the subject, but I’ll stop there, because you get the idea, right?  What I’m trying to say is difficult for me, because I cannot be sure that your reaction will be in my favor or not.  But, I have to tell you because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

I have always believed that for every person in this world, there is a perfect match & fate will cause them to cross paths sometime during their lives.  They may only get one chance, but each of them should know when it comes along and take advantage of it.  Anyone else (who is not their perfect match) who a person dates or sees is a possible match, but they have to learn to love one another.  With fate, people just know.

Is this THE letter?  Why yes it is! 
I knew from the moment we began talking that you could be that one.  However, I knew that you were the one for me when we began thinking the same thoughts, finishing each others sentences, and finding out how much we had in common.
Since that night, one hour hasn’t gone by where I haven’t thought of you.  The very thought of your name  causes butterflies the size of birds to begin flying around in my stomachI can’t eat.  I can’t sleep.  I keep thinking of that perfect hug we shared before you left and how you told me “You are amazing.”  Nobody has ever made me feel so good as you have, and you, too, are amazing. .

Life is funny sometimes…it gives you something amazing only to take it away again, as fast as it came.

Like I said before, I am sorry if I’m overwhelming you, but I can’t deny how I feel.  If you don’t feel the same way, please don’t just stop contact with me.  I’ve been hurt like that before, and I’d rather have you tell me than just blow me off.  I also know how difficult a relationship between you & I would be (because of the distance between us), so I would understand if you just wanted us to be friends. 

You know, I’ve never written such a heartfelt letter before, and I want you to know that every word has been as honest and straight-forward as I can write down on paper.

One or two last things—I have been here in Springfield at the Performing Arts Institute for two days now.  I’ve met several guys—really artsy, interesting ones too—but every time I look at someone, all I can think about is you.  Suddenly, I’m dreading going to college here next year…I only want to be somewhere near you—even if it is for nothing more than a beautiful, meaningful friendship.  I have seriously considered looking into an arts school in CA that I could get a scholarship at.  

I’m sorry that this letter is so sloppy & written on this kind of paper, but it’s all I had here in Springfield & it’s very late & I’m very tired.

I tried to call you at the hotel before you left to see if you would still be there when I came through on Sunday.  I stopped by, but you were gone—I wanted to give you a picture to remember me by, but I’ll just enclose it.  It was taken about a year ago, but it’s still me!  I’ll send you a different one as soon as possible.

Can I please have a picture of you?  I do not want to have the chance to forget what your beautiful eyes and smile look like.

How do you like the tape I gave you?

I need to go now—I have to get up early in the morning for a stage combat class.  Please write back as soon as possible!  Once again, it wasn’t my intention to scare you with being so forward or anything, but I figured that you wouldn’t be, because I sensed that you felt similarly.  I apologize if I’ve done anything in this letter worth apologizing for!  Once again, I really really miss you!  I look forward to receiving your letter—go ahead and send it to my mom’s address:

2205 Birch St, apt 5
Unionville, MO 63565

Oh, and one more thing—don’t let the age difference bother you.  We don’t seem far at all in age.  Besides, I’ll be 18 on August 18th! (Hint!  Hint!)

Think of me frequently!



p.s.  Sorry there’s no art on my letter—I’m just not that great of an artist!

Crazy, right?  I was in a carpe diem phase, going around shouting "seize the day!" in every possible situation, so it kind of fit.  What did I have to lose, anyway?  Heck, he lived in California and I lived in Missouri.  If he didn't feel the same way, I wouldn't have to worry about running into him--in fact, I'd probably never see him again.  

I did, however, hold on to the letter for a day or two before mailing it.  As soon as I sent it out, I got hives and had to go to the hospital.  I'm not sure if the two were related, but I think it's highly likely.

The week went by with lots of singing and dancing, then camp was over, and I headed back home.  When I got there, I half-expected a letter waiting for me, but there was nothing.  Days passed, about to turn into weeks.  What had I done?  I was well on the way to getting my heart broken.  I set a deadline:  exactly two weeks from the date that I mailed the letter.  If that day came and went and I still heard nothing from him, I was going to do my best to try and forget what had happened, no matter how hard it would be.

The deadline arrived.  I began to prepare myself for disappointment when, that afternoon, the phone rang.  My mom answered it, and when she told me it was a boy and it was for me, my heart swelled.  It was him.  I think the conversation went a little something like this:

Him:  So, I got your letter...

Me:  Oh yeah?  (stomach sinking, face turning bright red, heart thumping)  What did you think?

Him:  Well, I was a little taken aback, to be honest.

Me:  Oh.  Yeah, I wasn't sure if I should send it or not...

Him:  Well, I'm glad you did.  

!!!!!!!!!  He went on to tell me that he had felt the same way, had listened to my tapes the entire drive back to California, and couldn't believe that I had the guts to write what I wrote.  Who-knows-how-long later, he ended our conversation with, "Let's try to keep in touch and maybe I'll see you again someday."  I remember exactly what I thought, and I think I may have even said it aloud after I hung up:  "TRY??  I will make sure that we do."

From that moment on, we wrote letters often and talked on the phone every day.  He sent me a birthday gift of flowers, chocolates, a poem, and a necklace.  He was the first to say "I'm falling in love with you" (over the phone) but I was the first to say "I love you" (in a letter). He called my mom to get my ring size and then sent me a ring that he had made with the initials TLB on it,which are my initials now that we're married.

He visited me once that fall, I visited him after Christmas.  Nine months later, after seeing each other in-person a grand total of three times,  I moved to California to be with him.  I was 18 years old, and I drove halfway across the country all by myself, with about $300 to my name.  It wasn't as scary as it sounds now--I guess I had naivete on my side.

Thirteen years later, I wouldn't change a thing.  The letter, the long-distance relationship, the move--best decisions I ever made.  And we lived happily ever after.

(Definitely NOT The End)
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