Published on February 12th, 2013 | by Guest59
The Love Letters: Letter #3
LETTER #3: Hearts Across the Ocean (1/2)
Paris reminds me of you. Couples kissing in the street, padlocking promises of forever on Pont de l’Archeveche, heads permanently raised as they mill around the Eiffel tower, mimicking love… The Parisian dream is what we learned love is, what we dreamed love looked like.
I can’t help it; I smile every time I come to visit because this beautiful city reminds me that you, my darling, are my dream. You are what love looks like to me.
I went on one of those all-in-one tours on my last trip, and when I asked where I could buy a padlock the tour guide asked me what a single mademoiselle wanted with it. I smiled. I’d only wanted to replace the one on my suitcase. I told him instead, that there was so much love in the Paris air that I had fallen in love with it, and now there’s a big red padlock in the middle of nowhere to prove it. Hey, I hear red is the colour of love.
Every day I’m away from you feels odd. It’s been six months (!!!) since I took this job, and I still wake up every morning with that thing in my belly. It’s like a butterfly – just the one – and all it does is hop around excitedly, counting down the minutes, waiting until I see you to fly.
I still check my phone every minute, waiting for your words to read, “dinner tonight, lover?” instead of the incessant “I-miss-you’s”. I still go home from work everyday nursing the dregs of my disappointment, but then I dream of you like I did last night…
In my dream you were next to me. I had said my prayers, washed my face and was curled up on my side with my eyes closed, waiting for sleep and thinking of you (as one does). Then you were there, your stomach pressed to my back, your fingers running up my arms, and my sides. I burrowed into you, so warm, but I didn’t turn around and I didn’t open my eyes. You just held me, and when I woke up you were gone. But your side of the bed was warm.
Was it my fault? When you said, “Go, follow your dreams,” and I rolled my eyes at you for borrowing a massive cliché in such an emotional moment. After you laughed and kissed me. All the times you didn’t say anything, just looked at me with your words in your heart and your heart in your eyes.
When I said yes, took the offer, found an apartment. How about then? And if not then, if it wasn’t my fault yet, maybe after I discovered I loved it here? The travelling, the winter clothes, the amazing, intimidatingly intelligent people I am surrounded by every day?
Or maybe not. Maybe it was after you took the job that took you away from everyone for days at a time; that took you away from MTN and GLO, away from T-Mobile and Lebara. Did I do that?
You’ll laugh. You’ll say, “Hi, Urkel,” but you’ll never say, “Yes, it was your fault. You did this to us.”
Remember that day, when you were going offshore and you called me, and I couldn’t hear you? I could hear the water, but not your voice. I could hear the breeze, but not your words, and then the line cut off. I threw myself on the floor and screamed in frustration (like the drama queen you know I am), and I cried myself into a state of immobility. I wasn’t going to move, I told myself; not until you got off that blasted rig and called me again and told me you loved me at least a dozen times, would I get up off the marble. I must have dozed off, because it was late when I heard you whisper, “I love you.” I heard the water again, but this time your words came with it. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” you said, and I counted four. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you,” you said, and the lone butterfly fluttered (it must be a red butterfly, I’ve decided.) “I love you, I love you, I love you.” When I got up there were no tears in my eyes.
You’re not on the rig now. I could call you. I will call you. But aren’t words so beautiful? I do this little thing sometimes, when I’m transcribing an interview or polishing up an article. I pull my lids close together, but not quite shut, not quite enough for a squint. I do it just enough to blur my sight, and I watch the hazy words merge into themselves on the screen. Every line is like a brush stroke, every paragraph a new figure. I stare at the art before my eyes and I smile; none of this was there a minute earlier, I did this.
I did this.
But it’s your fault, too.
Hey. Remember when you met me? Remember how defensive I was, how scared I was? Remember when I used to think I’d never be good enough? It was you who taught me to believe in myself.
And by loving me, you showed me what it means to be entirely devoted to another human being. You taught me what love was. My darling, you teach me what love is. Hey, remember when you became the only thing that mattered?
It’s your fault for loving me so hard. You made me believe I could be anything, that I could go anywhere and be the best at everything I touched. It’s your fault for being there for me through every tantrum and every fit, for sitting with me when I cried, and mopping my salty face with your lips. It’s your fault for being the best part of everything I do right, Olisa. You did this.
You’re calling me. I knew you would. Don’t even try to stop me.
It’s Valentine’s Day soon. I’m coming home.