I’m a writer. My words are how I give to others. They’re all I have and all I know. So to be in the spirit of Valentine’s Day (although many of us would agree we don’t need a day to remind us of how special our loved ones are), I share one of many love letters I’ve written to the man in my life, a man that has loved me thoroughly and purely for over ten years now. If anything, I hope it might reignite your passion for your longtime love. Or perhaps it may get you thinking about the beautiful stories you share with your lover and the entangled path you’ll walk along together until death has its way. But I am sure, as Elizabeth Bennet Browning once wrote, that you “shall but love them better after death.” So here's to a year of love and cheers to the stories we share.
It seems to me that some couples grow tired of each other once they know each other’s stories. It’s as if they were intoxicated by the mystery of that person and not in love with the person themselves. If they were truly taken by their mate then they would fall further into the ravine of adoration, but instead they’re climbing out of it. There are so many stories to know, and it seems that it takes years upon years to truly know them all. Knowing all your stories doesn’t make me lose interest in your mystery or love you less because you are an open book to me. Knowing your stories makes me love you more. I take joy and even pride in knowing most anything and everything about you.
After spending so many years with someone, “so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep,” the stories you learn about them become a part of you.* When I look at you, I see layers of stories and details and memories, which all amount to the most priceless, incontrovertible love. And in time, those stories become mine. And in time, we make those stories together.
It’s the little stories and details about you that I love most. I know the stories of your scars: falling on a fence, an ornery cat, your teeth coming through your bottom lip. And the unseen: having your heart broken by broken promises, being let down by others, feeling betrayed by the ones you trusted most. I know the way you sleep, the way you dream, the way you wake. And in those moments, you illicit from me a smile, a laugh, and a peaceful mind. I know that good food, a good movie, a good wine, and a good laugh are all paramount to you. When I hear you say “my wife,” or my name, or “almost ten years,” I can’t help but to smile inside; I’m sure it radiates the words “I have you.”
I am the one that is blessed to be with you as the story of your life unfolds. I am the lucky one to be a part of your story, to know it, to construct it along side you. And when you die, I just might be the last person you gaze at and speak to and make promises to. And when your storybook closes, I will be there, in the last chapter of your life. I will be your “…and they lived happily ever after.”
With undying love,
*Excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s “Sonnet XVII”