It was 4:30 in the morning, the day before Christmas Eve, when we said goodbye on the corner. The fluorescent lights of the convenience store behind us lit up our troubled faces that tried for humor and smiles, but the imminent arrival of her taxi to the airport kept us anxious.
I hate being apart from her.
For three months, I had assured myself that her trip back to Canada wouldn’t be such a big deal; we’d be moving there together soon, and it was only three weeks. But the growing pressures of packing, preparing our place of work for our replacements, saying goodbye to so many friends, and interviewing potential adopters for our pet bird had taken their toll. I was dreading being alone in a house that was no longer our home, and in a country that we were having trouble letting go of.
When the driver came, she gave me a firm hug as he took her luggage. And then she passed me a little letter. “Open it when you get home,” she said, smiling in the way that had captured my heart when I saw it for the first time so many years ago.
The envelope wasn’t addressed, but it had a number: 22. The date.
is a hard time to be without your loved ones. I know, I’ll be missing you like crazy while I’m in Canada. To stave off the loneliness, I’ve left you a letter somewhere in the house for every day that I’ll be gone. Open them all at once, on their given day or out of order. It’s up to you. Just know that I love you, and will miss you more than I can say. ♡ Love, Nicky”
Our relationship has never shied away from public displays of affection, or grand gestures of love, but this was, perhaps, the most meaningful of all of the ones I have received in the past. In a moment, with a single action, my partner had transformed the depressing slog of deconstructing the life we had built in Japan into a treasure hunt. If I took care of the pile of clothes, would I find another letter? If I made myself some tea, or reached for the coat I’d need to go outside for the day, would there be a letter tucked into a secret pocket?
All through those three weeks, I cleaned and I searched, and I packed, and read her letters. Letters that can not be entirely shared here, but I will show you the first. It is in keeping with the energy of our union–we are a story in motion. A narrative unfolding in the most glorious way.
And even when we must be apart, the imprint of her affections remain.
“Once upon a time there was a girl who dreamed many dreams. She dreamed of being a farmer, a teacher, a veterinarian, a clinician, a writer and an artist, among other things. She dreamed more dreams than were possible to achieve and she knew it. She didn’t know what dream she should follow. They were all so appealing. Then one day the girl met another girl who also had many dreams. She was smart and pretty and when she got a new dream, she knew how to make it real. This was very impressive to the first girl and she asked to walk along with her new friend. To her surprise, she said yes! So they moved away together and had a little garden. They taught children and raised animals. They wrote stories and drew pictures together. And most important, they lived happily ever after. Thanks for making all my dreams come true. Love, Nicky”
Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.