Jessie Veeder, Published August 25 2012
Veeder: Rediscovering feelings of love
As a married couple we’ve gone through the moving process more times than I want to mention, but each time we dig through piles of high school yearbooks, T-shirt collections and that old radio my husband can’t bear to throw away I am given a gift of discovering our love story all over again.
Tucked away among my husband’s most prized possessions are little pieces of neatly folded notebook paper where my 16-year-old handwriting professes her adoration for a boy who used to meet me at my locker and walk with me to class.
A boy whose hair was never right and neither were his parents.
A boy who gave me my first kiss and drove his Thunderbird too fast on the highway to my house every Sunday to ride horses and teach my little sister to play chess.
A boy who received those notes only to tuck them away in a box as he went off to college with the girl, proposed to her under her favorite oak tree, married her there and proceeded to work on the happily ever after.
Up until this year I didn’t know the boy kept the notes.
I didn’t know the man still had them.
And I didn’t remember the quirky girl who unabashedly poured her feelings out on pages she hand delivered to a boy who would write her back with no notion that any other eyes would ever see them.
On days I’m feeling nostalgic and lost in the chaos that can become married life and general adulthood, I unfold those notes and lose myself in the memories of a girl with frizzy hair and a Ford LTD that guzzled oil and needed a jump start after school and the boy who always had jumper cables waiting when the bell rang.
And what it was like to be 16 and in love.
We were all there once weren’t we? You can remember it can’t you?
Your first car ride together.
Your first kiss.
Most people have gone through the process in their lives and then started it all over again with another first kiss, first car ride and first fight. It’s a series of excitement and emotions that cycle through in different ways with different people until you find the one to which you choose to hang on tight.
And you may or may not have written love letters and they may or may not be in someone’s basement – someone who remembers you with a scent of perfume or a song on the radio as they are driving down familiar roads.
But if there’s one thing in my life that makes me wonder about fate, choices and the human connection, it’s this relationship I’ve had with this boy who is now my husband.
The familiar road? I never strayed.
That first car ride together? We’re still driving.
And I’ll admit there have been times I’ve wondered if I missed out on something, if I shouldn’t have been so comfortable, if I should have had my heart broken a few more times.
Kissed more boys.
Then I pull out the picture I drew for the boy of a house with a chimney in the crook of a hill where a creek winds and two horses graze.
And I open another letter to read: “If we can say we loved each other for a lifetime I will have lived my dreams.”
Now I didn’t know anything then about life and how hard it can be to live out forever together and make things like dreams work.
I still don’t.
But when I’m looking for love stories in books and movies, noticing one walking down the street or at a table next to me in a restaurant, I think about my letters.
Because that 16-year-old may not have known who she wanted to be, how far she wanted to travel or how to properly boil an egg, but she knew what she was doing.
She knew what love was.
Jessie Veeder is a 28-year-old musician and writer. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.