Yesterday I scrolled through my blog archive to find a few unfinished prompts or exercises. Remember this? I’m not reposting the PostSecret postcard because when I sat down to write around
I love you
I never stopped
I kept the note in mind, but dismissed the picture. Also, when I imagine my narrator writing this note, she has different penmanship and puts the apostrophe in “let’s.” Perhaps if I were true to the postcard, I’d write a narrator who prints and doesn’t think about punctuation. I’m not promising I’ll write this postcard prompt again, but maybe…
We were supposed to save everything for marriage. I remember Mom walking down the basement steps and seeing you and me snuggled on the couch. After you left, she asked if we’d kissed. I looked at my feet. “Hana,” she said, “You only get one honeymoon.” The next time you pulled me close, I wondered if that was too far. I was inches from everything, sitting next to you and watching a PBS documentary about Rwanda. Your hand burned a print on my thigh. You said we should go do something to help.
After dates, Mom asked how my honeymoon was. “Still there,” I’d say.
Once, you asked to listen to my heart and pressed your head against my left breast. I couldn’t breathe. I felt our restraint.
“Do you think we’ll get married one day?” I asked.
“Yes,” you said. I inched my sweater up so you could look at my belly and bra. You saw this when we swam in the summer, but this was winter. A little noise came out your mouth. I heard a creak upstairs and pulled my sweater down. Our youth group leader said a long kiss was hard to stop.
When we kissed, I was always thinking is this too far?
We had to let our universities know. We both cried. I hadn’t been accepted at Marquette. Every weekend, we promised. I missed you too much. At winter break you took me out for dinner and we both knew we couldn’t do another semester of texting, driving home every weekend.
I loved you more, after, when you still emailed me and called. I typed and deleted messages back. I replayed your voice, but never called. I didn’t go home that spring and when I saw you over the summer, you gave me a hug. I loved you more then, for your kindness.
I loved you more when the first boy I dated my sophomore year unhooked my bra with one hand and grinned. “Practice,” he said.
Remember we were going to Africa, to be what the church is supposed to be. We were going to take care of widows and orphans, feed the hungry. Remember we were going to learn Spanish and go to Ecuador and teach sustainable farming. Remember we were going to go to college together and spend junior year in France. Remember you were going to propose to me there and we’d get married after graduation and take my nursing degree and your teaching degree to jungles and deserts and mountains.
We knew all of this, sitting too close on the couch. We said it. We felt something as close to the Spirit as I’ve ever felt.
I’m a nurse. I emailed Doctors Without Borders. I’m going.
Come with me.
Sit too close. I have a little honeymoon left. I think of us, seventeen or eighteen, and how careful we were. It was too far to kiss long, but we were ready to fly to a country cut open by genocide.
I love you. I never stopped.