I’m a wisher. Always have been.
As a young
girl, I’d stand before my closed bedroom door, wishing a Barbie Dream House
would appear on the other side.
my dad would sneer, a cigarette between his lips. “Not unless I hit the ponies
tonight.” Despite his habit of gambling our grocery money, neither ever
gangly teenager, I’d stand in front of a mirror, wishing for bigger boobs and a
fuller bush because I’d just seen Candace Michaels naked in the locker room
after third period P.E. class. You could say I was stunted in comparison. My
only solace was knowing those envious breasts would sag one day.
community college graduate, I stood before the liquidated store I’d just
purchased thanks to a small business loan, providing employment to the two most
important people in my life, wishing to God I’d always be able to pay their
salaries. Theirs before mine, it turned out, on occasion. No matter. There was
currency in independence.
wished I could twirl a baton, participate in a flash mob, and eat cake every
day without gaining weight. But, as my dad always said, I could wish in one
hand and shit in the other and see which one filled up first.
and only advice.
all, I’ve stared at nineteen different sheets of paper, always questioning what
I’d written, wishing many times over I was a poet. That I carried within me a
grace to evoke tender emotion, along with the guts to expel the toxic ones,
using nothing but a pen and the alphabet. Oftentimes I missed the mark, yet I
sent the messages anyway.
an old-school letter writer. A throwback to another generation. It’s not by
choice, believe me. This obsession started years ago, and I only write to one
I’ve avoided it. There’s been nothing to say.
in the middle of the night, I suddenly have plenty to say. To write.
lying in bed next to me gives me pause. I know he’s asleep before I turn to
look, his breathing slow, but his body tense. Ready for the unexpected. A
learned habit that might never leave him. There’s something precious in seeing
him sleep, the weight of a nation briefly lifted. In repose, he becomes more
man than machine, despite himself.
not to jostle the blankets, I slide the remote from his slack hand and turn up
the volume on an informercial to cover the sound of my movements. No easy feat,
given he has catlike reflexes and can hear footsteps two doors down. Smiling,
my heart expands. Those are only a few of the many skills that make him
straight-up cool, in and out of a uniform.
So far, so
good, the light from the TV guiding me as I crawl out of bed and grab paper and
pen from the dresser. Not bothering to cover myself, I stand in the same spot
and write what’s in my heart, the words clambering to come out. It’s all I can
do to make my cursive scroll legible. Most of my letters are like this. Born of
furious inner thoughts.
Dear… I begin, then pause on the next looping letter.
of our anonymity now gone, I write his name instead, personally addressing him
for the first time. He feels like two different men to me, both of whom I love,
but neither of which I deserve.
to use your name. I might never get used to that. I might never write you
another letter either. It feels wrong now, as I look at the face of a man who’s
been my sounding board, my guiding light, my surprise of a lifetime. Soft with
sleep, his burdens at rest, it’s a face that proves every sappy love song
right. Love—and let’s be honest, a daily dose of sex—really is all you need.
and pizza. The ultimate threesome. But I digress.
has one, you know. A love story. Even the non-believers, one of which is the
man embedded within my soul. Some of the stories are good, some bad. Some of
them, for the very lucky, are even great. Those are the ones that last, defying
a low survival rate.
always wished mine—I mean, ours—to be a lovely tale that played out like a
metaphoric fable, where hummingbirds sipped nectar from orange blossoms on
dew-dampened spring mornings, our love growing from the softest flutter of
paper-thin wings, to a steady beat so sure and strong, you could tell the time
and temperature by it. What appeared outwardly fleeting could easily withstand
the rigors of Mother Nature. Bring on the hurricane. We’ll wait for the
Laugh your fine, cynical ass off. I was thirteen when I dreamt that gem up, and
while you might be hero material to me and many others, you’re no fairy tale
prince. God knows, I’m no princess, so I’m laughing right along with you. We’re
the sorriest pair of hummingbirds ever.
thing is… I don’t care how it really happened.
that it did.
to bleed words of love, and then regret, onto the page, desperate to say
everything I need to. Confess my sins the only way I know how.
rustling of sheets interrupts me, and I quickly slide the paper into the
drawer, reaching for his discarded t-shirt at the same time.
it on, I cover my nakedness and grin at the scowl that crosses his gorgeous
face. Rolling to his side, his unguarded eyes beckon
Patting the bed, his voice is rough with sleep.
hesitation, I let him envelop me in his strong, capable arms.
my hair, he asks the question I’m prepared for. “What were you doing? It’s zero
Burying my face in his neck, I kiss him and fight tears, feeling far more
secure than I should. The taste of his skin is achingly familiar, and I let my
lips linger. The privilege, I know, is temporary. “Just shaking off a dream.”
rumbles, and it’s the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard. “A good one or bad?”
finally admit, the tears falling unbidden. I hide them, and the darkness allows
me my privacy. “Tighter,” I whisper, and he just seems to know, the band of his
breathing is shallow, but my love is deep, and I selfishly ask for more.
hummingbirds and orange blossoms.
This is the love story—the sad, but true story—I’m meant to be in.