Today I stepped outside, reached into my mailbox, and flipped through my mail. To my surprise, I received a love letter. It was in an unassuming white envelope with a tiny red heart-shaped sticker that sealed it. On the back of it, it said in large cursive letters my name. Carefully I inspected the letter and sniffed it to see if I could guess its contents. But I could not smell anything. Despite feeling as if receiving a handwritten letter was antiquated, a small smile formed on my lips. But then it quickly disappeared and was replaced with a grimace.
Was this some kind of sick joke? Was it one of my friends taking another stab at my perpetual singlehood? After Diana, I emotionally shutdown.
She broke up with me through a text message simply saying, “it's over.” When I tried to call her to ask why, she hung up on me. I had been ghosted. It felt surreal, like an out-of-body experience. I wanted to stop by her apartment and speak with her. But I didn’t. I knew she did it this way because she did not want to see me.
The day that I got that text, I reread it over and over, sat on my couch, drank bottle after bottle of beer, and cried. I felt so lost but, worst of all, I felt empty. Almost as if someone had grabbed a melon baller and hollowed me out.
For the months that followed, I was not the same person; I was broken. I felt so low, and so ugly. I tried to preoccupy myself by working but I was not feeling any better, I was just ignoring my own pain.
After my shift, I would binge watch television programs in order to fall asleep. In order to get up, I would overcompensate and drink 3 cups of coffee each day just to keep myself moving. So, to think that someone would send me a love letter, (while I was still at my lowest point) seemed like a very cruel and unusual punishment for being dumped.
I cursed my bad luck and spat on the sidewalk. Then I walked back into the house, planning on throwing the letter out. But I stopped myself and decided to open it anyway. Sitting back on my navy sofa, I popped open the envelope and read the contents of the letter:
Meet me tonight at the restaurant called the Atrium at 8pm. I will be waiting for you with a glass of Merlot.
Your Secret Admirer
After reading the letter, mouth open in awe, I sank into the couch. To get a letter from a secret admirer seemed unbelievable. I wondered who it could be and if I should even go. That night I decided not to go.
The next morning, I opened my eyes and saw the letter lying on the floor. I had fallen asleep on the couch. Yesterday was not a dream. As I groggily got ready for work, I heard footsteps outside of my house. It was the courier, out delivering the mail. As I ran out to meet them, they handed me yet another white envelope sealed with a heart-shaped sticker.
Whoever they were, this person was persistent.
I asked the courier if they had seen anyone out here and they replied “no, it was only me out today.” Then they proceeded to turn away from me and continue their rounds. After they were out of sight I ripped open the letter and read it:
You didn’t show up last night, so this is your last chance. Same time, same place.
Your Secret Admirer
This time I was determined to put an end to it all and find out who this person was. The Atrium was a well-known restaurant and had a strict dress code. Therefore, I would have to stop by my house after work and change my clothes. After I finished my shift, I rushed back to the house to change. I hastily finished buttoning my suit jacket, donned my dress shoes and left.
After pulling up to the front of the restaurant, I gave the valet my keys and rushed inside. The hostess said they had been expecting me and quickly seated me at a booth with a woman obscured by the dim lighting. All I could see of her face were her red lips. As I sat there, squinting as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, she began to pour me a glass of Merlot.
She delicately swirled the wine in the glass to aerate it, handed it to me, and told me to take a sip. As I brought the wine glass to my lips, I caught a glimpse of her green eyes reflected in the wine. So before I took a sip of the wine, I drank her in.
As she leaned in closer, she was no longer obscured. I saw her long brown hair flow down in waves around her suntanned face. She was the mail carrier that usually delivered my mail! I recognized her eyes and tan but she looked completely different with her hair down and wearing an off-shoulder dress. I didn’t understand what was going on.
Without thinking I took a drink from my glass to calm my nerves. It was at that moment that the Merlot sent a shock through my system and for the first time in months I felt awake.
The wine was bright, bursting with fresh blackberries, raspberries and vanilla. It was sharp, acidic, full-bodied and yet the mouth feel was velvety and clean. To put it simply, it was delicious. My eyes widened subtly and as I put my glass down, I met her gaze. I looked deeply into her eyes searching for answers but I saw only tenderness.
A small smile played on her lips. “It’s good right?,” she said and not knowing what to say I simply nodded. I then asked her why she hid her identity. She smiled and replied playfully, “I never hid who I was, I hand -delivered your letter.” After she said this I paused, and asked “Why did you ask me out here?”
Meditatively she responded, “I guess after delivering your mail everyday, I developed a crush on you. Everyday I would hand-deliver your mail and each time you would greet me with a smile and we would talk for a bit and laugh. But, a couple of months ago you stopped coming out so I would leave your mail in your mailbox. The times I did get to see you, you were grabbing the letters from the mailbox after I had already walked back to my mail truck. I had never seen you look so sad before. I had to do something so I decided to take a chance and see if you felt the same way about me.” After she said that she blushed. I sat there confused, what could she possibly see in me if Diana decided to abandon me?
“Why would you like someone like me, especially as I am right now?” She looked at me earnestly, and said “Nick, you are my style, your laugh, your warmth, your humor, everything.” After hearing how she felt about me and seeing how serious she was, all of my walls fell down. It was in that moment that I felt truly loved and accepted by another person.
I asked her if she would hold my hand and in return she stretched out both of her arms and held my hand with both of hers. Her hands were warm and comforting. Throughout dinner we ate, talked about our childhoods and laughed. It was an amazing first date, the first of many with her.