I write this letter hoping it will find its way to you in these moments of war and uncertainty. For a long time now, I have been thinking about you and about the moments we spent together two years ago on my European trip. I know father wanted me to open my eyes and be receptive of all the things I could learn abroad, but the truth is that I only had eyes for you during the whole time. They wanted me to get interested in sciences and arts, but all I wanted was to talk to you about anything. I just wanted to hear your voice.
Hopefully, this confession letter won’t strike you as odd or coming from a strange place. After all, we did have a moment to speak and you dedicated some very kind words to my person, words that I haven’t forgotten and that have been stuck in my brain for all of this time. I write them over and over in my notebook and when we had class, just before things got worse, I would daydream about that moment over and over again. You could say, Richard that I fell in love with you right then and there.
Apologies are something I have to ask of you because I know this comes as a surprise. You knew I liked you and I know, or at least I understood, that you thought I was at least interesting. I remember that we were having wine in Lisbon. My father and sister had gone with your aunt to a party in our honor. And I had stayed behind telling them I had lost my notebook, which I had hidden carefully in a drawer. You stayed on with me, pretending to look for the notebook, but you knew it was a lie.
I have to be clear: I wanted for you to take me on your arms and just stay there with me forever. I remember that, through the window, I could see a cobblestone street lined with beautiful colorful buildings. And beyond that, there was the ocean and up there the sun, shining bright as if it was celebrating our moment. I should’ve asked you for that hug, even if it was for a split second. I just needed it then and I have to confess I still need it right now, in these difficult times.
Every day we get word from men dying in the fields, men we knew because of father’s job or my mother’s family. My sister’s fiancé, as you certainly know, was killed rather recently. It was horrible and she had to go and pick up the body to give him a proper burial. He didn’t have any parents, so she now mourns as if they had been married. It’s tragic and it scares me because I have no idea who is going to be next.
Father has been the best kind of parent during these times. I had decided, for a while, to enlist and go to war like all other young men, but he stopped me and told me that there was no way he would lose his son over a war he didn’t believe in. He vouched for me before the men that travel the land picking up young men to send them to die. He told them I had severe health issues that would disable me from playing any role, no matter the importance, in the many battles to be fought at war.
He had several doctors write different kinds of reports informing military officials of my health. According to those papers, which I read one afternoon after helping mother selling some of her most beloved pieces of porcelain, I’m only a few meters away from death. I have contagious diseases, problems with my bones and muscles, as well as mental issues that would scare anyone from taking me anywhere, to any kind of job. It scares me for my future but, again, I appreciate my father for doing what he did.
What about you? There’s no war there but I hear there’s a lot of unrest because of some political thing happening. I’m sorry, I haven’t been able to read a lot about the actual situation, this kind of life we are living now is quite exhausting and we find ourselves getting up very early and then staying up until very late. We haven’t gone to war but the city and the government always has something to ask father. We have been forced to entertain military officials and diplomats and even refugees from certain areas.
I write you this letter in the middle of the night, during a time I should be using to sleep. But don’t worry; thinking of you reading all of this is even more comforting than sleeping. I tend to have a sore back when I wake up and my body feels like levitating, as if I wasn’t really here. I prefer to avoid all of that, at least for this night. Would you hug me right now, if you were here with me in the night? Would I be able to smell that gorgeous scent you wore during the trip? I loved that scent.
I have tried to look for several ingredients to make a similar kind of aroma but I haven’t been able to find the perfect kind of wood. As you know, the house is surrounded by several trees and we have a small forest beyond the fields, but none of those trees has the right kind of smell I want. Nevertheless, I have found other components and have been creating them in the basement, with that old chemistry kit my father bought for me in Brussels. I never thought I’d use it but, when I have a bit of free time, I spent it down there trying to find my way to you, more or less.
I promise that, if I find the right ingredients, I will send some of it to you in a small bottle for your personal use. My father has more connections than ever now and, with luck, this letter and the eventual scent would arrive in your hands in a short period of time. How I wish it could be me to give you that present and every other present by hand! I know it is impossible right now but something that makes me going is the hope to see your face once again before I die. And I hope that moment is not very soon.
Finally, I wanted to tell you that my appreciation of you is not only physical but also of the mind. Of course I was astonished to see you swim that time in the South of France. I have to confess I had to pull myself together in order not to reveal what I felt to everyone that day. But you looked beautiful or even more than that. Maybe it was the light, or the food or just me. I have no idea what it was but I know how I felt… I just hope I can see you again someday, better sooner that later but I whatever life makes of it.
Before bidding goodbye, I have to ask you to burn this letter after you read it. I cannot allow anyone besides you knowing about all of this. One never knows who lurks in the dark, which has picked up something that we might have left unattended for. My sister asked some questions after the trip and I had to dismiss all of it as her imagination acting up because of her fears about her fiancé and the war, all of which ended up happening. I felt horrible afterwards but she never asked anything again.
Anyway, this is it. I have to sleep now and you have things to do too.
If this letter confuses you in any way, please don’t respond. I’ll understand.
All the best,