Don’t give love letters Part 2

A GIRL I liked gave me a love letter when I was 13. It was the best feeling in the world. She was a primary schooler, I was a high schooler, it was a perfect match except we didn’t catch the same bus. Her foster sister gave me the letter, and so began a series of letters written on Winnie the Pooh stationary.

I’ll go to high school each day, find time to write the letter, and return it to the sister on the ride home.

I visited their house on Saturday. There might have been some hand holding, and we kissed. She refused to make her friends leave the room because she wanted them to watch.

Best kiss I ever had.

kids kissing

Mustn’t have been as good for her though. She dumped me an hour later and told me there was another guy.

He went to primary school with her. It was a perfect match, apparently.

And I suppose I tell you this because it reinforced the idea the love letter approach worked. I discovered love poetry, and when I say “discovered” I mean I enjoyed writing it without having read any of the experts. And I gave it to another girl I liked for Valentines Day.

I should have plagiarised with something safe like:

how beautiful you are, my darling!

Oh, how beautiful!

Your eyes are doves.

 I chose instead to write a love poem in Year 8 comparing the girl to various food objects. The line I do remember, as it repeated over and over, was: 

You are as nice,

as nice as pie.

You always give everything a try.

You are as great, as great as tart.

I want you to be my sweetheart.

What possessed me? Love apparently. But it’s something the shy, creative writers did when they liked a girl. We had been influenced by the rom-com movies at the time like Can’t Hardly Wait which dictated this is what a guy did to attract her attention.

The years passed, with several love interests but perhaps one brief relationship made and died at schoolies. When I joined the Order I knew little of relationships except what I discovered in my young high school days eight years before.

 There was a girl I met in the Order.

After her party I didn’t see her at all. Not for months. Not until the dreaded Christmas season.

At Order 614 Christmas is chaos. We’re warned about it all year. We collected money for the Christmas appeal at street corners and train stations across Melbourne, often with brass bands accompanying us. I heard the same songs on every shift, some I didn’t even know existed. And once we completed the four hour shifts we would return to work and work in the drop-in centre or wherever else we were rostered.

The last month in the Order was like this. It buggered me up. One morning after a early shift of collecting money I fell asleep in the drop-in centre. This was a dangerous thing to do. When the boss told me off I sneaked away into the basement and took a nap.

On top of this I was seeing Sally more. I wanted to let her know I liked her before I moved back to Qld. I suppose other interstate relationships in the Order’s history had worked. When exhausted every day all I would need for an emotional high was to see her, then I’d be smiling again.

SMILING: Christmas party with Rudolph and some friends. I'm the elf on the right.
SMILING: Christmas party with Rudolph and some friends. I’m the elf on the right.

One of the best and last infatuation highs I have had, just like the ones in high school. You just don’t get them so much in your mid 20s.

The combined mixture of all these emotions – from exhaustion to tingles – made me believe this meant something. And after a year of challenging myself to do more and be a better person I wanted to prove to myself I could ask a girl out properly. With advice from some friends I found her mobile and phoned her the day before the Order 614’s last church service of the year.

“Hi Sally, it’s Chris. The one who works at the Order?”

“Oh, hi, Chris.”

“Want to grab a coffee or something tomorrow?” When I write the question down it doesn’t seem so hard to say.

“Sure. When?”

“What? Really? Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

We arranged to meet for coffee after church the next morning. The first thing I should have done when I saw her there was say hello. But I was too shy, I ignored eye contact, I slouched and looked busy with my other friends.

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when she walked to me at the church lunch, smiled, and said “I’m sorry, I just realised I double-booked.”

“Okay, maybe another time maybe.”

Nope. That wasn’t what she was telling me. So that night I decided to write a love letter. The best love letter I’d written yet. It started with:

You are as nice

As nice as pie.

Only joking.

I shouldn’t have given her the letter. These emotions were a culmination of the Order, and I knew I would be saying goodbye to the building and moving interstate again. I was making her some sort of anchor.

Not another teen movie

The next day she read that stuff I meant about “how beautiful and how smart and how gorgeous” she was. The last time I heard from her she described it as “flattering.”

And I would be tempted to use this post to apologise to her (and maybe to the former love interests I added into one Facebook group they all declined to join) for my behaviour.

But this is not to be a justification to her.

If it was I would not have learned my lesson.

 

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4 thoughts on “Don’t give love letters Part 2

  1. I went through that; I guess a lot of people have…..it’s always unique and personal…….. if you live long enough you realise that it’s not that big a deal…..these are the things that memories are made of, you you and for them……I deal in memories in my work; they are powerful things……..I know it is boring and a bit of a cliche but………….. it’s the things we don’t do that we ultimately regret, not the stuff we did and stuffed up, that’s just experience, and experience is good………. as you said “If it was I would not have learned my lesson.”
    Terry

  2. I can’t help but feel compelled to ask just what lesson it is you feel you learned? I’m curious about what you say it is, but I agree with Terry. If it was really bad to have taken that chance and if you were to justify it or apologize then you wouldn’t learn the lesson. I’m not sure what you think you need to apologize for. I hope you don’t give up on letters. Personally, I love letters! Granted…I too am a journalist and I love writing so I suppose I’m a bit biased. I do think that most girls/women like to get letters because it shows caring, etc. I’m pretty sure that guy in “Can’t Hardly Wait” gets the girl at the end. *wink* We all have experiences that in some way we wish we could retry but life doesn’t work like that. Our “retry” comes in the form of having another opportunity with someone else. I’m a person who tends to wear my heart on my sleeve and yet I too am pretty shy when it comes to the dating world. It’s just difficult for me, so I can relate to what you’re saying. Don’t give up though. You just never know when “she’ll” come along. 🙂

    • I now believe you should not write a letter to someone when you can’t talk to them in person. I barely knew this girl, and so this letter was about my confidence, my ego, my growth as a person, and adding to the emotion of that last month, I just don’t think I had the right to express myself like I did.

      • I think it’s never a good idea to disallow yourself to express your feelings whether or not you can talk to them in person or not. It’s not always easy to talk to someone face-to-face and if someone can’t handle that, then that person probably isn’t the right fit. I agree that the letter probably did give you a growth opportunity. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out but that’s a risk with any person at any time regardless of HOW or WHEN you express yourself or your feelings. Don’t give up on expressing yourself in whatever form! You may find that you’ll miss out on someone just as easily from NOT telling them as telling them…so it’s better to tell them. That way they’re at least informed on where you stand and you know you did what you could. What Ifs are horrible – just saying. *wink*

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