Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How to make me fall in love with you

With words. Write me letters and emails that are so unbelievably good that I can’t help but fall so hard for you. Tell me things about you that not many people know. I like secrets -- and I'm pretty good at keeping them. Tell me random things. Tell me your feelings – your feelings about me, your feelings about life. Really talk to me. Be descriptive – use big words in the correct context AND spelled correctly. Nerd, party of one – your table is ready…yeah, that’s me.

I have a cedar chest at home that holds all of my important tangible memories. I have a large box of every note that Beth wrote me when we were in 7th grade. I have a ton of notes from Becki and Kendra from when we were trying to stay awake in 11th grade English (a.k.a “the class where time stood still”). I have programs from when I played Chava in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 11th grade, with a note printed in the back from my parents (they bought ad space) wishing me a happy 17th birthday. I have my first teddy bear that my dad brought to the hospital when I was born. I have a box of love letters.

It seems like no one writes love letters anymore. In fact, hardly anyone even writes letters at all. But these letters are from the summer before my senior year of high school, the summer before my freshman year in college, and the summer before my sophomore year in college. It was the mid-90s – we weren’t big on email just yet.

They were from a boy named Justin. He was a tall, dark haired boy from Nebraska. He had a gorgeous tenor voice. He was a big jerk. When he moved to Lakewood and joined our show choir junior year of high school, I did not like him one bit. He was cocky and arrogant and it seemed that NOTHING could possibly measure up to his beloved Nebraska. He came from a small school where he was a big fish, to this big school where nobody knew him and most people didn’t even know he existed. But after his initial really bad impression on us, he slowly began infiltrating our tight knit group. He lived in a big house, and so eventually, every weekend there would be 10 or so of us at Justin’s, eating them out of house and home, listening to music until all hours, playing games, making out, staying the night. When spring came, the parties included the pool in his backyard and afternoons of sunning ourselves by said pool once school was out. Justin eased up and began to let us in – he realized that his Nebraska friends were good, but shocker! Somehow in all the resistance to us, we had become his best friends (and vice versa). And we realized that underneath the cocky exterior beat the heart of an incurable romantic with an enormous capacity for love.

I say we, but I guess I mean me. Justin and I got along for the most part, but when we clashed – we’d clear a room in no time flat, because everyone wanted to escape the inevitable fiery combustion. I kept a little bit of distance between us, because there was another girl in our group who was IN LOVE with him, and I didn’t want to step on that. He had no interest in her, but for some reason, I attracted him like a magnet. He asked me to prom about 40 times – I kept saying no. It bruised his inflated ego, because he’d never experienced that before – a girl? Turning him down? Impossible! And so we’d fight and make up and fight and make up and fight and then kiss. What? I can’t remember when it happened, but it did. Probably one of those late nights hanging out at his dad’s house, talking the deep talk that you so often do in high school. And when it happened, I think I told him that that was it – it was just a kiss and wouldn’t happen again because I didn’t want to hurt my friend. Which of course made me ever so much more attractive to him because now we were competing. I wasn’t going to give in, and he wasn’t going to give up – it was on now. He clearly underestimated me.

This is still all in the course of one year. We finally managed to come to an understanding and let down enough to create a friendship. And we did this just in time for him to leave for the summer. He spent every summer working on a ranch somewhere in Nebraska. And that’s when the letters began.

He told me he had a lot of time to think out there in the fields all day and that maybe he’d been too hard on me. That maybe the things that irritated him so much about me did so because they were the things that irritated him about himself. That we clashed so hard because we were so much alike. That maybe I made him so mad because he liked me so much. Once we got past the initial apologies, he would talk about the other stuff he thought about. His honesty was amazing – he told me things about what he was scared of and what he wanted from life and what the stars looked like when he was in his sleeping bag at night. I wrote him back, and I got a letter from him every week for three months. He went back to his school in Nebraska for his senior year, but he spent most of his time that year in Colorado. With his best friends.

I fell in love with that Justin. The Justin of the letters. And when he came back? He was that Justin with me. We never dated, but we loved each other THE MOST. We always joked about how we’d end up getting married one day. We eventually went our separate ways, but always stayed in touch.

I went to his wedding a few years ago. My mom made me go – I didn’t want to. It was so silly, but I didn’t want to see him marry someone else. I didn't think I could bear it. I sat in the church before the wedding, bawling. I saw Justin looking so handsome in his tuxedo, standing at the front of the church. His bride started walking down the aisle, and when I saw the look in his eyes as he looked at her, I stopped crying. I recognized that look and I knew that she was his world now -- and that's how it should be.

Things are different. Times have changed. But I will always have the box of letters to remind me that once? Someone great adored me and told me all about it. And with those words he made me fall in love with him. Simple, right?

26 comments:

The Husband said...

wow...thats a tear jerker. very emotional. its always nice to take a trip down memory lane and think about stuff like that. my guess is you'll meet someone like that again. it always seems to work out that way. if not, i'm accepting applications!

Marie said...

You write so beautifully, Amber. I also have that special box where I keep special letters, old cards, pictures, etc. I miss letters and having those tangible items that hold so many memories.

It sounds your time and life experience shared with Justin was beautiful, honest and very real. What a treasure.

Edge said...

STOP IT!! I'm going to have to go to the lbr ( little boy's room ) and cry like a little girl if you do that again.

Wonderful little look into your life. Isn't young love the best?!?!

~Jef

Stephanie said...

Wow Amber. Just... wow.

Fantastic account of what once was. Thanks for sharing that sweet story.

Hope said...

That was a great post. I also have a trunk where I keep old letters and diaries and things like that. I may have to take your lead and dig into it to get some new subjects to post about.

Whinger said...

Awwww...it's just so sweet.

The Zombie Lama said...

You constantly amaze me...

Cheryl said...

Aw, Justin sounds pretty special. Any guy who writes real letter is! You keep those letter and all your mementos of the written word.

Oh, and youknow the word nerd doesn't need to be a party of one! We're a party of two!

Thomas said...

I think the title of this post should be the other way around, Amber. :)

Romeo Jensen said...

I was just gunna buy you a car... but yeah... the other stuff might work too

oh... and I caught a typo you made while commenting on someone else's post (damn... I think it was jill... ummm maybe kendra... not sure now)
just thought Id toss that in to give you something to obsess about tonight my queen

romey
king of the universe and typos
this week only
the universe part


not the typos

they'll be here next week too

beckibee said...

Letters are the BEST. In Myyyyy day, we wrote with pencils and pens! I still have all those notes too. GOOD TIMES.

Timmortal said...

That was fantastic Amber, it really was...I miss the people of letters too. They were much simpler and somehow, they are now larger than life. Thanks for sharing.

Miladysa said...

*sobbing* Oh Amber! Lovely!

Alice said...

augh! i feel all empty and incomplete now that i don't have a box of love letters from a justin! i do actually have boxes and boxes of letters that my best friends and i wrote to each other in highschool, during the summers. one of my friends and i used to write letters to each other exclusively in various accents. like, "mah dee-reyst say-rah, ah ahm jist DEElahted that yew wrote me thi-us wayeek!" or "zis ees ze last letter i vill be able to write unteel school".. heh.. aw.. i want to find those now..

dasi said...

I loved this - mostly because I am the ULTIMATE pack rat and have huge tupperware storage bins FILLED with letters, pictures and other momentos. I never had a "Justin," at least not consistently, but I do have a couple pretty special cards and letters from guys who are now married with families of their own. Someday I'll have to blog on this too...

Kellie said...

wow- beautiful post...

I'm glad you had Justin- and I am sure he's glad he had you. We need those people.

Kiki said...

*sigh*
once again this is why love sucks.

Sorry.

Good post.

C. said...

Very nice post Amber. Just sent one of the probee, aka rookie, firemen out to fetch me a box of kleenex, with the aloe mind you.. :)

Chief Slacker said...

/hugs chica!

I know how it feels to have someone you totally adored get married, though luckily I've been spared being at the wedding.

Youn should send me you addy, we can be pen pals or something ;O) hehe

Kendra said...

This is your best post. Ever.

Ahhhh, the letters we keep. I have a set of letters tied up with a red bow. I keep them in a box under my bed with a bunch of other special things that I'd want to save in a fire. I honestly think I could stand in the ashes of my entire home and be ok if that box was safe.

BossMack said...

flavor!

Jill said...

Amber, I want to cry. I mean that as a huge compliment. That was beautiful.

Marissa said...

What a wonderful story! I think this is my favorite post you've ever written. I feel the same way -I want to fall in love with someone who can express their love for me. I always say that I won't accept a marriage proposal unless I have it in writing...in the form of a 10 page essay ("Why I love Marissa"). :)

Jhena said...

I love writing love letters for my fiance. I even send them through snail mails. Though, I seldom receive written replies, I'm still glad whenever he calls me or sends me text messages answering every paragraph of my letter. Every person has a different way of expressing love.

I just love this post!

I'll link to you. hope it's ok!

Amanda said...

i loved this...i tried to post earlier but it wouldn't let me and i started to get worried i wouldn't be able to comment from work at all today on any blogs!
thank g-d for small favors...
anyway, i love words and letters, too. there's also something about the time it takes to write a letter, that someone was thinking about you for that entire length of time.

lil'bitty said...

Sounds very "My Best Friend's Wedding" ish to me.
It's always nice to have those reminders of past times and people. I agree with Amanda, it has to be partly an investment of time and the thought that goes into letters that make them so valuable. Spoken words can be lost in the wind, but the written word is tangible, it just seems to carry such. . . . power?
Excellent post. He may be with who he is supposed to be with, but a love is never forgotten and a part of you will always be with him.