Do you remember where we began? Three years ago?
I was a teenage girl in faded jeans with big dreams and an open heart. And you.
You were a dream -- completely unattainable in every way, but so far beyond compare that I couldn't help but stretch myself a l-i-t-t-l-e b-i-t further.
So one night, on a porch swing surrounded by warm summer darkness, a boy said "I'm in love with you now." And a girl said, "Do you promise?"
And you took my hand and kissed it and held it like something so fragile.
He handed her a bottle. "You've never had an Ale-8?" She said, "nope," and drank every last drop...and never said she hated it.
Afterward you drove me through town in your car, the sunshine pouring through the windows and the empty bottles clinking in the floor with every turn.
For a while, we were so free. I cut my hair short and you skipped classes, and we walked hand in hand through the falling leaves and starlight and snowflakes. And one day, as we sat in your driveway, you called me an angel.
Sometimes I wish we could go back to dorm rooms and midnight drives and movies and...do you remember? The way it felt? The way you looked at me? The way we had the same thoughts, the way we laughed?
Do you remember? The day you told me you were leaving?
We sat in your room and the world fell apart. I thought you were saying goodbye.
"And then what?"
"It's a five year contract."
"I don't know."
But then you said, "You could come with me. Would you?"
And there was hope.
There are so many goodbyes in our story, each one more painful than the last. Just one more hug, and one more kiss, and can that really be the last one? Hold me tight just one second longer...and then one of us would walk away while the other watched.
He looked at her and smiled. "You're just going home. You'll be with your friends in a few hours. You're coming back." She looked at him and her face crumpled. "I know." "Come here, let me hug you again before you have a heart attack." It never got any easier. "You'll have to go or I won't be able to leave."
And here we are.
I came back, and you drove a borrowed truck to the airport to meet me. The snow was a foot deep and I was wearing a dress. We spilled the luggage cart twice and I couldn't feel my toes, and still I couldn't stop laughing. My nose was red from sneezing, but you told me I was beautiful. We came home to a barren apartment, with our awful air mattress, paper plates and disfunctional television, and I spun around in dizzy circles on the spotless hardwood until you caught me. And in an unfamiliar place, without a single one of my possessions or even a pan to warm Ramen noodles in, I'd never felt more at home.
Do you remember?
Sometimes I forget that all the hard things really happened. I forget how extraordinary it is that we survived on nothing but letters and faith. I forget how very far we've come, because some days we feel so very much like we did before. When we were teenagers, and we'd never been torn apart.
I'm really glad we made it.
I love you,