Love letters -short story

Vivian crumpled her feelings into a ball of paper and threw it over her backyard wall with such aim that it hit Tom on the head precisely when he was deliberating on the most powerful words to describe his feelings for the girl of his dreams. At the beginning, he paid no attention to the UFO which had just landed on his head, but a head popping up above the wall distracted him from his love letter writing. He screened his eyes from the sun and discovered Vivian’s features on the previously nondescriptive face. He still hadn’t had time to link her unusual presence above his garden wall with the incident of the paper Alien missile striking his head. He was too busy trying to get a hold of the elusive phrase that best described what he felt for the mistress of his heart: Was it and indescribable yearning for her? Some twisted primordial instinct? A sickness from vehement desire, commonly known as love? Or perhaps some modern imagery whose spell would be broken by the most tenuous light? None of these phrases sounded compelling, if his goal was to have his feelings requited.

It’s for you” she said, summoning him back to reality; although only partially, for he was so eager to resume his thoughts that he bypassed all logical connections while attending to Vivian’s sudden need to play some obscure game that implied paper balls. They’d been neighbors since he moved in five years before and they’d played many games together, but now that they weren’t kids anymore, they’d started to grow apart. Tom grabbed the paper ball, unfolded it and read a message jotted down in longhand. It said: “I like you very much. Would you like to be my boyfriend?” He looked up at the wall and she was still there, but she’d cast down her eyes to avoid his. Eventually, she looked back at him, but she saw nothing. His eyes were empty, expressionless, as if he were looking past her to the infinite sky beyond. He could actually barely see anything due to the sun on his face, but she was right in her assumption. He’d come to realize that long love letters are a deterrent to the prompt start of a relationship and that Vivian’s approach was the most effective one. However, he disagreed with her in the peremptoriness of the message; he reckoned that yes no questions were too intimidating, specially for a girl. He knew that in girls, diversion eventually becomes preoccupation, which in turn takes the name of love and, in case of absence, becomes despair. So if he wanted his beloved to despair for him, he needed to amuse her with silly romantic notes such as the one Vivian had just thrown at him.

Thanks,” he said, and in his look and gestures there was nothing to indicate that he wanted to continue the conversation, so she said: “Well, see you later, then,” and climbed down the stool she was standing on. He went back to his writing, which implied getting rid of everything he’d written till now. He crumpled into a ball each of the thirty pages he’d written up to now, all of which were full of poems, desperate sonnets or mere romantic ramblings. When he’d finished, he didn’t know what to do with the debris of his romanticism, so he started throwing them over the wall, to see if perchance he could hit Vivian on the head to get back at her. She was already inside the house when she saw the tempestuous rain of paper balls in her garden. She ran out; she’d always enjoyed getting drenched in rain. She unfolded the paper balls and read them one by one, not even suspecting that they hadn’t been meant for her. The ravings of an idle heart about a girl whom he’d never spoken to were interpreted as the quiet simmering of emotions for her. Truth being told, she would’ve preferred more open demonstrations of his feelings for her: A flower or some awkward small chat would’ve sufficed to embolden her, but she’d never seen a hint of this torrent of passion running quietly inside him. She was elated. Across the wall, Tom was finishing his note to his darling. It consisted of a single phrase: “Do you find me as attractive as I find you? Tom.” He’d opted for ambiguity and intrigue.

If you can’t recall a single crazy thing you’ve done for love, you’ve never loved” he thought, while he slid the note into his classmate’s notebook the next day. He waited for three days for any sort of answer from her, but it didn’t come. He thought his Cupid’s arrow might have gotten deflected, so he crafted a new one, with the exact same message. This time, the answer didn’t take long to come: He found his note inside his notebook when he opened it after the break, a single word added: “No.” “I knew it!” he thought, repenting for having broken his own rule of never asking yes no questions to a girl.

Some days later, Vivian kissed him by surprise in front of his house and he liked the sensation so they repeated this act, though they varied the place. Eight years later they married. The topic of the love letters didn’t come up till fifty years later, when during a visit, their granddaughter asked to see them. “What love letters?” Tom grumbled. “Mamma told me you wrote beautiful love letters to grandma when you were young.” After Vivian had gone to the room and presented the old papers, he flicked through them and read some of the poems, but he couldn’t recognize himself in the writing. However, he did remember he’d been fond of poetry in his youth and he didn’t see any reason why he couldn’t have written some poems to the companion of his life and then forgotten. After reading some of his poems, his granddaughter said: “It looks like you adored grandma back then.” “I’ve always adored her,” he said sincerely “I’ve adored her from the moment I saw her.”


I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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