We're happy to present this story from one of our favorite sites, The Good Men Project. Years later, Thomas Fiffer can recall every aspect of the letter he wrote to her — how he felt, the way his "e's" curled — everything except for the words.
Sometimes, when you have lost something, and especially when you have lost the real thing, you have to reinvent it, reimagine it, recreate it, and restore it — you have to bring this thing in full color and exquisite detail back into the stark black and white emptiness of your life. Such is the case with the letter I wrote to J, on my cream-colored stationery with my name and address, 2379 Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520, printed in dark blue and centered across the top of the page.
We had just, well, let me say we had just shared an experience that was a first for both of us. A magical moment. A moment of realization — the realization of dreams — a moment of recognition, not just of the intensity of our connection but of our incipient adulthood, our new place in an unfamiliar yet achingly familiar world, our transition into . . . the great beyond. We had shared the expectant ascent to the mountaintop, the smack of cold air rising through trembling nostrils to sting oxygen-starved lungs, the labored breathing, the planting of feet, the marking of territory with a happy flag of conquest, the astonishing view, the expanse of sky stretching endlessly into the sunny distance, the new closeness, the hum of our favorite song warming frostbitten ears, the sigh as we finally slipped the heavy packs from our backs, set up camp, curled up in the tent, and determined to stay a while in this extreme, unreal, dreamy, forbidding and yet somehow supremely welcoming place.
The day after, I wrote a letter, to J, in blue pen. I let my feelings flow onto the pages, compressed the language of love into tightly curled c's, e's, and s's, and unfurled it in more expansive j's, l's, and a's. I expressed my self, my new, altered, activated self, a suddenly able, grown-up self, a self I had waited longer than most to come in to, a self now initiated, enriched beyond measure yet stripped to the bones, a self in transition, a self now certain that the long years of doubting, hoping, and wondering had wasted nothing and preserved everything in its entirety.
So what did the letter say?
To find out, read the rest of Love Letter Lost over at The Good Men Project.