4.1 Dear James
Today is your birthday. You are now 26, and I have no doubt that for the next month and a half you will be upset by the 6-year difference between us, instead of the usual 5.
When we first met, I found you intriguing. I was heartbroken at the time, since Mark had dumped me only a week before we met. I would look to sit with you at meals while we were on our military course because every time I did we ended up laughing about horrible, horrible things. When we played soccer and you referred to me as your “superstar defender” while you were playing goalie, it filled me with an odd sense of pride. I wanted to be that for you, but had no idea why.
You were never really around, though, because like most things you came into this unprepared, but worked your ass off to get it. I admire your devotion. And even though I’m sometimes bitter about you playing your rank against me, I’m proud of you because you earned it.
You used to smoke a lot. I remember the only time you would leave your practice room was to go for a smoke. I’ve never been able to tell you how much it means to me that you quit smoking because you knew it bothered me.
The night we kissed for the first time, I didn’t know what to think. We were both far too drunk, and I didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing. I didn’t want you to be a rebound. Even worse, I didn’t know if you wanted anything more besides that 4 a.m. makeout session. Well, you obviously did, but I kicked you out. The second night we watched a movie in your room, and then I left. On the third night, I stayed. We spent the night cuddled together on that narrow bed, and were both able to sleep comfortably. The next morning when we woke up, we were both surprised at how well we slept. I knew from that moment that there was something special about you.
Really, though, we kept this a secret really well. Well, we did up until that morning when I snuck out of your room past your roommate’s bedroom, and out into a hallway full of people we work with. That one was your fault, not mine.
I know we agreed to break up at the end of last summer, but it was a really hard thing to maintain. I missed you so much, and I didn’t know what to do with myself without you there. I didn’t want to be the naive one since I’m younger than you, so I swore I wouldn’t say that to you.
When I talked to you a couple of months later and you admitted to me that you hadn’t moved on (I believe your exact words were “I probably would have slept with someone else by now…”), it made my decision very difficult. I still wanted to be with you, and I hated where I was, but to move across the country? That is a whole different level of commitment. And I was really scared, no matter how strong I acted.
Now that I’m here, though, I’m so glad I went through with it. In early may you asked me to be your girlfriend, this time for real. And on October 26th, 2012, you told me you loved me for the first time.
You are always there for me when I need you. That day that I fainted and embarrassed myself in front of thousands of people, you let me cry into your chest and get snot on your favourite t-shirt. (The one with the bear holding a machine gun and yelling lightning).
The night I crashed my car, you let me show up at your house at 3 a.m., and held me while I sobbed. You brushed your fingers though my hair and told me things would be okay.
And most importantly, you’ve been there for me throughout all my problems with anxiety, and are helping me through them. You want me to do the things that make me happy. You are there for me when I have doubts. And when I need someone to talk to, or someone to hold me, you are always there for me. And that means a lot.
I know you hate these kinds of sappy letters. You call them “nauseating”, along with anything else that is romantic. That’s fine with me. I think it’s cute that you’re only affectionate when no one else is around. It makes it special because I get to see a side of you that no one else gets to see.
Happy birthday, Handsome.
And thank you for letting me be a part of your life for the past year and a half. I hope we are still together next year so I can write you an even sappier letter. One that will make you really cringe with how disgusting I can be when I talk about how much you mean to me.
All my love,