Jazmine

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Dear Caroline, 

I didn’t know her well and I don’t want to pretend that I did. She was yours. She was a part of you.

Because of this, I loved her. 

She made you laugh and for that, I loved her. 

She made you happy. She made you go out into the sunshine, enjoy the grass between your toes, and for all of those reasons, I loved her too. 

I love her for everything she gave you. All the cuddles and snuggles and kisses. 

I loved her for the way she’d make you get down on the floor with her. The way you’d sleep next to her. 

I love you for everything you gave her. I love that sometimes you didn’t eat so that she could. Yes, I know about that. 

I love the time you had together and I hope you never forget her. That you keep a piece of her in your heart for forever. I don’t mind sharing with her. 

I wanted you to know that I love you so much more for the way you loved her. 

I love you for wanting to be there with her for the end. 

You are amazing and I think she knew that too. She knew how good she had it with you. She knew she was spoiled and loved every minute of you doting on her. 

She was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. Please don’t forget that, ever. 

She will always be a part of me because she was a part of you. 

I love you, babe. We will get through this together. 

Love, 

Stacy

Three AM

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Dear Caroline, 

It’s 3 am. I’ve barely spoken to you today. Minimal texts, a five minute phone call.

I can’t sleep. 

I lay here in the dark, rolling from side to side, trying to find a position comfortable enough to fall asleep in. It won’t come. I adjust some pillows, try my other side, take a sip of my drink, get up to pee, smoke a cigarette, repeat. I’m working on my fifth hour now. I have to open another pack. 

I could drink myself to sleep. God knows I’ve done that more than a few times in my life. But I don’t keep it in the house anymore. It never really kept the bad dreams away or kept me safe anyway. 

It’s nights like these that I crave a hot bath. You know the ones I mean. 

So I stay in bed. I click “next episode” and stare blankly at the screen. I whisper back to the voices of doubt in my head, in my fiercest little girl voice, that they don’t know what they’re talking about. 

I tell them that I am enough, you tell me so all the time. 

That I am beautiful and thin enough. 

That I’m smart enough. 

That I’m not that broken. 

I tell them that this isn’t the beginning of the end. 

That it won’t always be this way, you promised. 

That we’re putting all of our stuff together and it’s because we want to share everything. 

That I just miss you and that’s why I’m sad and you miss me too because you said so. 

I remind them that we’re working hard and putting measurements in place to take care of each other for the long haul. 

That there’s no one else for you just like there’s no one else for me. 

That you’re tired. 

That we’re a team. 

I tell them that one day we really are going to be married and live happily ever after. 

But it’s 3 am. The doubting voice will only get louder. It will remind me that every experience in my life proves otherwise. That none of those things are true. 

Mostly tonight it tells me that we can’t do this much longer. That you’re getting tired and I’m not enough to bring you home and never will be. 

I know it will look better in the sunshine, in the morning, it always does. But tonight I wish I could sleep. 

Love, 

Stacy

It’s Been Awhile

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Dear Caroline,

I think there’s a Nickelback song with that title… I don’t know if I’m more upset that I can’t think of a better title for this letter or that I know that. 

Today is hard. It’s rainy and gloomy and cold. Perfect cuddling weather. Cuddling on the new furniture that we picked out together for our home. Cuddling in front of our new entertainment center with the built in fireplace that we chose together. Surrounded by the pillows I made with you in mind. Our furry babies asleep at our feet, including the were-chihuahua that loves you so much. 

Every day is harder. Every day I open your side of the closet and stare. I touch the towel you left hanging in the bathroom. I move your toothbrush to grab mine. I curl up around your pillow at night, sleeping in our bed, in any bed, for the first time in a long six years. 

I miss you.

Every day I remind myself that we’re one day closer, that we’re another step further, that we’re moving in that direction. The direction that brings you home. 

We have a joint bank account now. Joint credit cards. Soon we’ll have bills we’re both responsible for like the cell phone, Netflix, others. 

Every day we bring more people into our circle. Your family and friends. Your brother. 

We pick out curtains together, invest together, raise our credit scores together, buy life insurance to protect each other.

 I miss you. 

We spend more time together than ever. The visits are closer together with more and more time spent at home. 

It’s never enough. 

I can’t ever get enough of you. We rarely text anymore. I miss the sound of your voice. You can text me all day but nothing compares to you calling me at the end of your day, waking up to hear you tell me that you love me. (I think there’s a Sinead O’Connor song in that one.)

I struggle. I am struggling. I do struggle. I’ve been unable to write to you because I’m afraid of what I’ll say. 

For now, just know that it’s been awhile and I miss you more than ever. 

Love, 

Stacy

Miss Communication

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Dear Caroline,

I love you. More than anything. More than I’ve ever loved anything.

The week we spent together was amazing. I loved watching you downtown, the white snow flurries in your dark hair, your breath in the air as you laughed, framed by those old buildings, the river in the background. I wish I’d taken photos. Sometimes I forget that while I can capture an image in my mind, hold it there, I’ll wish I had a copy to show you. To show you how beautiful you are. That image will be with me, always.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of my shortcomings. 

Sometimes I pride myself on my communication skills and sometimes I wonder if I’m speaking the same language as others. Sometimes I’m trying so hard to explain to you how I feel, how big it is, and I can’t. My words get tangled, falling from my lips faster and faster while I’m trying to reason, trying to tell you. 

There are things I don’t want to say. I worry that they would alter the course that we are on. There are things I can’t explain to you, I just hope you understand when I grip you tightly and sob into your neck. 

I have to hope that you understand what I mean when I say that I love you, that you are my everything, that you are my happily ever after. I have to hope that you know that I would do anything for you. That I need you. That I want you. That I choose you. 

I have to hope that you understand how important your happiness, your contentment, your struggles and desires are to me.

I have to hope you know that I’m not afraid of anything with you. That I want to share your hopes and dreams, your trials and tribulations, your debts, your family, everything with you. Your good ideas, your not so good ideas, your terrible ideas. I want to make beautiful mistakes with you. 

I want to make love to you. I want you to make love to me. I just want to be with you. 

I hope you know all of these things, even when I can’t say them. 

Love, 

Stacy

Christmas Eve

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Dear Caroline, 

These are the hardest times. The holidays. The nights when I’m wrapping presents and stuffing stockings and I want us to be giggling quietly, trying not to wake up the kids, drinking coffee and hot chocolate, sticking tape to each other, kissing, and getting ready to wake them so early in the morning. 

Our giggling turning to heavy breathing, our touches and kisses becoming more insistent. Making love to you in the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree. 

Wanting you home for Christmas just once. Just once to make love to you as Christmas eve turns into Christmas day. Christmas morning with our children. Breakfast. Kielbasa and pierogis. Wrapping paper from one end of the house to the other. Giggles and laughter. Watching you open your tokens of affection from me. 

Struggling with my selfishness. These are the times that are the hardest. I miss you. 

All I want for Christmas is you. 

Love, 

Stacy

Blue Orchids

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Dear Caroline, 

Happy Sunday, my love. 

I’m sitting on the couch, smelling the pot roast in the crock pot. The weather outside is clear, sunny, and chilly. 

I miss you. 

Yesterday I repotted several of our orchids since they are done blooming for this year. The new ones. The pretty pale yellow ones with blush colored centers you brought me from Florida. The white one with the purple splotches. 

Moving them around and watering them, I saw that yours was sprouting. The blue one I bought you got your birthday almost two years ago. 


I know the blue is artificial, but they were so beautiful and exotic, just like you. I wanted you to have them. 

I was sitting here, missing you, thinking about them. 

Because they are forced to bloom before they are ready, store bought orchids are difficult to rebloom. It hasn’t bloomed since the initial flowers fell away a couple of months after I brought it to you, to put in the apartment bathroom as a reminder that I was there. 

I noticed the bloom spike yesterday. 

It struck me as a beautiful parallel to our life together. 

We were the blue orchids. Beautiful and artificial. People looked at us and if they didn’t know, assumed that what you see is what you get. They assumed we were happy because we had soil, light, warmth, and water. We bloomed because we were forced to, whether we were ready or not. We had been altered, changed to fit a new definition of beauty. To be exotic and surreal. To accentuate our surroundings. 

Then I brought you the orchid, like you and I found each other. We bloomed for a time in the constraints of our surroundings. 

Things changed. Once the orchid had finished blooming, I uprooted it, trimmed its roots, the dying, decaying parts that no one saw. It was transplanted into fresh, appropriate growing medium. You set off to Puerto Rico. Then to Orlando. I watered the orchid and have spent hours texting you, long phone calls missing you. 

Uprooting the orchid, trimming the decay, putting it in a fresh environment may have been painful for the orchid, the way being separated is for us. 

But it’s thriving now. After almost two years, she’s getting ready to reward our hard work with new, beautiful blooms. Just like us. My bloom is sparkly and always on my finger, a constant reminder of the depth of your love for me. 

She’ll no longer bloom blue, something most people might not find as entrancing, but she’ll bloom her natural, creamy white. She’ll never be forced to bloom out of season or be something she’s not. She’ll never be forced to fit into a pot that’s too small or doesn’t fit just right. 

People who look at her now will never know how hard the transition was or what she went through to be where she is. But she will always be beautiful and perfect for us. 

We are the blue orchid. 

I love you so much. 

Love, 

Stacy

Patience Please

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Dear Caroline, 

I know I’ve been needier than usual lately. For that I am sorry. Please be patient with me. When I am needy, please remember:

That when I need to hear that you love me more often, it’s because there were too many times in my life when I thought no one did. 

That I need to know how important I am to you because there were too many times that I didn’t mean enough. 

That I need you to touch me gently because there were lots of times someone else’s touch wasn’t so gentle. 

That I need to be reassured that I am the only one because so many times I wasn’t. 

That I need to hear things over and over again because too many times it was a lie that couldn’t be kept straight. 

That I need to make my own decisions, but that I want your input because too many times no one else cared. 

That I need you to tell me that I am beautiful because too many times that wasn’t the compliment that I was given. 

That I often need to know that things are okay between us because I have definitely missed too many cues in the past. 

That you aren’t going to leave me because I’ve seen everyone I’ve ever loved walk away. 

That it’s okay to trust you because too many times those were exactly the ones I couldn’t trust. Those who hurt me and took advantage of me. 

That I am working on me and trying to fix it, that it’s not you or your fault, but that I need you to be patient with me because I am learning myself. 

I know it’s unfair, but I can’t help it. It’s so hard. Please be patient with me. 

I love looking at my ring. It’s beautiful. I love what it means, what it symbolizes. But it is a material thing and in no way a substitute for you or your words. 

Please just be patient with me. 

Love, 

Stacy

.38 Special

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Dear Caroline,

It’s taken me days to process the last week. I hadn’t seen you in months until Sunday. A week ago. It feels like forever.

I missed you more than I had the words to explain. Hurricane or not, I had to be with you. I had to spend my birthday with you, the one year anniversary of you setting off on this journey.

Plans were delayed as hurricane Matthew came close to you and then bounced his way up the coast to me. Florida was not hit anywhere near as hard as North Carolina.

As soon as it was light, the rain stopped and the winds started to die down, I threw my suitcase in the car and left. I tried to avoid flooded roads and I made the 678 mile, ten hour trip in just over eleven hours safely.

Watching you walk up the block did funny things to my insides. It gave me butterflies and made my chest ache. Kissing you again felt so amazing. Our romance put on hold as we set off the car alarm and couldn’t get it to stop in the quiet neighborhood. Us giggling, giddy at the sight and smell and touch of each other, trying to quietly maneuver up the stairs and to your room, to a bed we’d never shared. You felt so good.

Walking up early, sunlight spilling in, heading out for breakfast. Taking in the sights of the quaint town that’s stolen your heart. Breakfast at Denny’s, coffee, pancakes, eggs, toast, grits, and that delicious honey jalapeno bacon.

My laptop, me working on vacation, the price I paid for taking time out of the office. You curled up next to me, having called out, snoring. You are so beautiful when you sleep.

Waking you up, taking my lunch break, walking, swinging, talking. Then back to work for me, only to look up and see so many snacks laid out on the bed for us to share. Finishing up my day, you insisting on dinner.

The car ride to dinner. The life changing, emotional car ride to dinner. Neither of us able to speak. When you handed me the box and asked me to open it a day early, not on my birthday, it was not what I expected.

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I tried not to cry. I’m not sure if I did or not. It was so overwhelming and beautiful. I love you.

Disney Springs. So many shops. So much chocolate.

Dinner. Sitting there, staring at you. Trying to comprehend. I’ve never loved anything as much as I love you. Not the way I love you.

Before dinner, music and drinks and jokes about how our wedding will be. Watching you being unable to be still if there’s music playing, particularly with a strong beat. I wanted you then.

Home. In bed. Your hands around mine, fingers laced through mine, touching the ring you put on my finger. Making love with you is not like something I’ve ever known. I can’t wait to do it forever.

Waking up with you again, heading out to the parks for the day. Riding roller coasters, walking around with my Jack and Coke in my hand. Kissing you and tasting rum. Everyone telling me happy birthday because, like a five year old, I wanted my Disney button. Holding your hand.

Petting the goats and donkey. The pigs. The cow. The lambs. Watching the tiger. Giggling at silly kid’s shows in 3D. My love of dinosaurs.

Dinner and a movie. At the same time. We’ve never gone to a movie together. How it affected me and I didn’t even realize it.

Driving to the next park and squealing with excitement to see .38 Special play. They are so old, but they still sound amazing. The cold rain and the bright blue umbrella. Pierogis and kielbasa. The Polish in me so excited for the recognition. So many fireworks. Kissing you under them.

Home again. In bed. Exhausted and overwhelmed and so in love with you. My head on your chest and shoulder, your lips against my forehead.

Then it was morning. You kissed me goodbye and went to work. I packed and headed out for the long trip home.

The road collapses and fallen trees and flooding rivers made my trip almost impossible. The down and out bridges and trying to make it home before dark so that I could see when the roads were washed out. Driving through Fayetteville and Lumberton in the dark, always aware that there may be a place where there is no road. Keeping you calm on the other end of the phone as ten hours turned into twelve and then fourteen.

 

Fifteen hours later I walked into our home. I was too tired to understand any of the last three days.

I’ve had time to think. To process. Driving through that was scary and I’m glad I didn’t tell you in great detail what it was like until later. Understanding that I might not have made it home.

My ring and everything it means. What it symbolizes. I don’t like to take it off. It is beautiful, just like you.

Yes, I’ll marry you. And I’d do it all over again without hesitation.

Thank you for my birthday. It was perfect, just like you for me.

You are my happily ever after.

Love,

Stacy

Kings and Queens

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Dear Caroline,

There needs to be something more than “I love you”. I do love you and I love you so much. With every fiber of my being. With everything that I am or ever will be. But that only scratches the surface. Barely. 

It’s insane how much I love you. I love you physically, emotionally, spiritually. I love everything about you. After more than two years together, you’d think it would start to plateau, that something you do would annoy me, grate on my nerves. There’s literally nothing. There’s nothing that I would change about you. 

I know you worry about the distance between us. The physical distance. Six hundred and seventy eight miles from our door to where you are. I also know that I have never been as in tune, as in sync, as in touch with another person in my life. It’s so strong. I can’t begin to imagine what it will be like when we are together. In our bubble. In the same space. 

I don’t want anything or anyone else. It’s never even crossed my mind. I miss you like crazy, but I know every week apart, every night, every hour, will be more than worth it. 

I know that you are my one. Pikachu, I choose you.  You are the love of my life, my everything, my happily ever after, my dream come true, my partner, my best friend, and I can’t wait for you to be my wife. 

You are the greatest thing I have ever known. You make me feel like a princess, a queen, that I’m on top of the world, that I can do anything, accomplish anything, everything, as long as you are by my side. As long as you love me. 

You are my everything, my love. And I don’t want it any other way. 

I love you. 

Love, 

Stacy

Touch Me

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Dear Caroline, 

Thank you for last night. 

The memory of your hands on my skin. Your pale skin contrasted against my tan. The way you trace my tattoos with your fingertips, giving me goosebumps. The way you kiss my skin softly, parting your lips slightly, nipping at first, biting me. 

The way you fit against me perfectly, your hands on my hips, pushing and pulling me against you. 

How you feel behind me, beside me, between my thighs. How I love the way my skin slides against you. The way electricity sparks every time we touch, skin on skin. 

The way your lips feel against mine, the way our lips part, the silky feel of your tongue in my mouth. The way you nip my top lip and we pull apart, just a little, gasping for breath, to start again. 

I love the feeling of you. Feeling you against me, near me, inside me. How you make me feel wanted, sexy, desirable. 

I miss your touch most of all. Every cell in my body screams out for you. I miss your kisses, the way they warm me from the inside out. 

Just touch me. Please. 

Love, 

Stacy