Writing prompt: P.S. I still wait for you.
I’m not sure if you’ll ever receive this letter, if you’re even alive. If so, I’m not sure, even, if this will be the final draft of it. I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately on what it was like when we were younger, when together we felt resilient against the world (even if only for a short while), when our path toward our future seemed so certain… When we were in love. I often forget what it feels like to love someone so unconditionally the way that I once loved you, with my heart bare and open and vulnerable simply because I can see no other plausible way to love someone. It comes back to me sometimes in dreams: the butterflies of when you first meet, the unwinding trust as you carefully open yourselves to each other to expose your darkest crevices to the light the other offers, the feeling of your heart sitting in your throat as your lips meet for the first time. It’s as nerve-wracking as it is poetic, as dangerous as it is exciting.
It’s been nearly two years now since the war began, when you left to fight for England, and I still find you crossing my mind along with a nervous inhale, a ragged exhale, at the thought that you may never return home to me. This is not as often as when we first parted ways (back then, I don’t think you ever escaped my thoughts), but you still unfurl in my mind daily. Not just the bad things, the hurt of you having to leave and breaking things off when you did — albeit, those thoughts along come too, at times — but about the time of my life that I had with you.
This is the way life unfolds. There are some of us who will marry our first loves, the only people we will ever date, and go on to happily live our lives out with them until the day that we die. These people are not us, and that’s okay. Maybe we met at the wrong time (even though that seems like a terribly overused excuse, but an outbreak of another massive war only a few decades after the last one ended in 1918 seems a fair enough excuse). Maybe we just weren’t ready for it to happen. Maybe we were just too young. I could have sworn to you, back when I met you at sixteen, that I was ready to start my life: marriage, babies, being a perfect housewife — the whole package. I thought I was beyond mature enough to take on these responsibilities, these life-long commitments. I think that if I had taken them on, I would have managed, but that does not mean that I was ready for it. Looking back on it now, I can see that I was naïve, over-trusting, and uninhibited in my desire to barrel forward at top speed, unthinking of any potential repercussions for what it was that I felt I so badly wanted. I was young. I was taught a lesson. I learned. Now I can see that I perhaps need to take things down a notch, assess life as it comes at me without cementing a thought in my head as ‘needing’ to happen simply because it was what I once felt was the right way of going about life. Life is meant to learn from; we can take these lessons, reassess our current standing, and move forward accordingly. We’re allowed to make mistakes. We’re also allowed second chances.
Of course, there are still countless times where I place you in the furthest corner of my mind, reduce our time together to something fleeting and meant to fall apart. In fact, this is where I situate myself most predominantly in hear of the regret and distance between us terrorizing my mind; this is how I have come to move on, like any person who has ever experienced heartbreak and gone on with their life. It’s in these moments that I seek out change. I go out dancing with my friends, I flirt with the soldiers visiting home, I genuinely want to date other people and move on with my life once this horrible war comes to an end. After these couple of years, I truly do miss being in a relationship. I miss the dates at the cinema. I miss those anticipatory moments of falling in love. Mostly though, I miss the intimacy of two people possessing something so much more meaningful than simply friendship.
And that evokes the memories that so often lay dormant in my mind.
I still remember how I felt falling asleep to the rhythm of my hand rising and falling on your chest with each languid breath. I still remember the way we danced to Édith Piaf, not quite knowing all the words; how it wasn’t the red heels and flowing dress that made me feel beautiful, but the way that you smiled at me. I still remember the way we told stories about our lives over pancake brunch in that little diner, easily switching from serious topics to light hearted laughter in a matter of moments. I still remember the warm summer nights and the cold winter mornings spent next to you. I still remember it all so vividly.
I suppose I never stopped loving you. Maybe I am no longer in love with you, but I love you for how much you taught to me, how you made me grow and develop into the woman I am today. Maybe I am no longer in love with you, but perhaps I’d be able to do so again when you return home.
P.S. I still wait for you. In the back of my mind, I’ve always been waiting for you. But until then, I now must move forward, move on.