This one started with a tweet. I saw it last Saturday evening. I’d returned from two days of idyllic views. I’d seen the Alps with clouds of white coating covering the rocks. I’d seen trees blooming high up the mountains. They stood in resistance to the cold and paraded their greenery to whoever cared to admire. I’d seen a stream and lake frozen in position as though rigor mortis had had the better of them.
I’d watched an uncastrated dog running all over the snow, rolling on its back and not giving two hoots about what else was happening in the world. It was in its own bliss. I’d taken a picture of a flake of snow holding onto twigs forming beautiful crystals only comparable to the shine of diamonds. I’d watched families skiing, kids going down the surface of snow in a sport I’d previously only seen on TV.
I’d had a typical Bavarian broth with liver dumplings – leberknödelsuppe, it was called. The liver in the soup had a mashed-potato like feel on my tongue. I’d eaten schweinshaxe (“pig leg”), another Bavarian special.
So when Salsa Bae tweeted, “… please write me a love letter (post) again, write the words I want to hear, write the words that heal my heart,” I was crazy enough to poke my nose in this business. I liked and retweeted it with a comment.
“This is a good writing prompt,” I wrote.
Did I know how much trouble I’d got myself into? Nope.
I hoped there’d be silence thereafter. She didn’t skip a tweet.
“Waiting for the link,” she replied and signed it off with the emoji of a winking face with a tongue out.
I sunk my head in my palms. I was smoked, finished. What love letter could I possibly write?
I felt lethargic.
That night, I wanted to sleep but couldn’t. I wanted to stay awake but had no idea how to. I was thinking about you. It was unbearable in this army base without you. You had become my weakness. If I was Samson, you were my Delilah, a smooth temptation. Irresistible.
I missed your giggles, those ones that I complimented, compliments that made you uncomfortable. That made me chuckle. I missed your delicious homemade food, the tasty beef and pork and chicken. I missed hearing you calling me baby. And I missed calling you my princess. You are the only one I’ve called princess. It’s sad I couldn’t have you on the other end of the line because our connection was broken, the network was down. Even though you weren’t in this place flooded with army green uniforms, I still had you in my heart.
I missed reading your good morning and goodnight texts. I know you couldn’t text because our network was down. God knows how many times in the early days I sneaked into my tent, went under my sleeping bag to peak at my phone, hoping the network in this jungle was clear and that I’d find a message from you. None came through. I understood why though. I also wanted to send random texts in the middle of the day, but I held back. And after many days of silence, would a text mean anything to you anymore anyway?
My mornings became bleak. And empty were my nights. I didn’t get any messages from you that could spark my smile anymore. So I took it day by day, dragging myself out of my sleeping bag at dawn and forcing myself to sleep at night in loneliness. I still thought about you, princess.
I held onto memories from the bridge that we crossed as the winds blew on the surface of the water below. And remembering our kiss by the river and between the trees brightened my face. I opened my wallet to see the picture of the fireplace around which we shared a drink. And even though I badly wanted to reach out to you, I’m sorry, I couldn’t. If my training commander caught me, I’d get a teeth gnashing kind of punishment from him.
I stepped back and took it a day at a time. It was arduous, like putting back together the broken pieces of a clay pot using whatever sustainability materials were available. It just wasn’t about smooching booties – like Jake Peralta calls it. I longed for your company. I worried about you too, about your anxiety, your goodness that people have previously taken advantage of. I was too far and couldn’t help anymore.
Princess, even though I was never your first anything; not your first date, not your first kiss, not your first love, I wanted to be something to you. Maybe you’ll call me your first letter guy.