Monday, August 22, 2005

love letters

I made a noble goal that I would write my husband one love letter per month for the entire year this year. The purpose was two-fold, the first obviously being to give him lots of warm fuzzies and good feelings about himself and about me. Very noble, and very sweet. I’m such a good wife. And a good student. I learned in marriage and family therapy school that husbands need warm fuzzies. People end up in therapy if there is a shortage of warm fuzzies. So, I thought I’d better stock up. The second purpose was to give ME lots of warm fuzzies and good feelings, so as to spread the fuzziness around. Wouldn’t want us to end up in therapy. Again.

So, about the end of December of 2004 I went out and plunked down entirely too much money at some ridiculously large bookstore chain to buy each of us attractive little blank-books within which to chronicle our love for one another, because said love was not good enough for ordinary spiral-bound, cardboard-covered notebooks. We found places for them on our nightstands, a small feat within itself, and we began to chronicle the aforementioned love. Fuzziness abounded and we were very cute and sweet, secretly writing letters to one another and placing them on each other’s pillows before bed. Good feelings exuded from us both, and it was all just very precious.

My last entry is dated 03.29.05. Today is 08.22.05. In case your math isn’t real good, that equals “I suck.”

I don’t know what happened. I could lie and tell you the attractive little blank-book fell under the bed and was swallowed by a gigantic hair ball, which has actually been true once or twice, but you would see through my excuses and tell me to get my little fanny under the bed and dig it out. Which is fine except I’m afraid to crawl under my bed because it used to collapse sporadically and despite the fact that it has been fixed for over twenty years I still just don’t trust it. So you could tell me to send my spry six-and-a-half-year-old to her probable death under the bed, but the truth is that, once retrieved, the book would still be sitting in its same perfectly positioned place on the nightstand, unopened, and her heroics would have been in vain. Which is a shame. It really is a very attractive book.

What particularly rubs salt in the wound is that I’ve recently been sorting out some papers and setting aside letters we’ve written to one another to put in the large box I keep labeled “letters we’ve written to one another.” It is another very precious thing, and is bursting to the seams with old letters. Old letters. You would not believe the number of letters we used to write to one another. We had matching notebooks in college, spiral, I might add, that we would write to one another in and pass back and forth. Five-subject notebooks. Full. Apparently, blank-books were not a hot item in the late 1980’s.

Hundreds, literally, of letters. They read to me almost like fiction, now. We used to believe we were so different. Were we? We were so in love, so connected, so open. People would comment on our relationship—we weren’t the only ones who thought our love to be idyllic. We thought we were invulnerable, immune, inpenetratable. Three years of marriage therapy in the mid-1990’s shot that belief to hell. What happened? Were we really any different? Are we now?

I hate this. I hate that I suck. I hate not being who we were in college. I hate being a statistic. I hate that I have pride and resentment and unforgiveness and fear. I hate that I resist being vulnerable. I hate that time is a commodity that seems to balance constantly in the red. I hate that I procrastinate, that I seek my own comfort above all else, that I just don’t feel like it. I hate that I am paving the road to hell with this attractive little blank-book and all its good intentions.

And so, now what? A new goal? A redoubling of my efforts? More guilt and less fuzzies? Or more fuzzies and less guilt? It was such a good goal. I was going to be such a good wife. And the blank-books, well, I just can’t tell you how nice they look on our nightstands. It would be a shame to move them.

Being different. A very noble goal, would that I could attain it.


Dean said...

Nice post, Lorie. Rich in visual detail, I like it.

Cynthia said...

What's even more suckier than all me. I've never even made an attempt.

yomama said...

love this post.

Erin said...

John & I have a similar blank book we're supposed to write in once a year and we're already behind after only 2 1/2 years! I think the effort counts for something, but I hope to some day get past just the effort and change myself too! Thanks for sharing.

lorie said...

Thanks, guys! Good to know some of you can relate! Would hate to suck all by myself!