We decide to stay the night at the cabin rather than risk driving me all the way back home in my condition. It’s just a sprain, but I think it’s best I do not have to sit for a long period of time until I have had some time to rest my ankle.
Chris finds us enough food for supper and we are sitting on the couch eating it when both of our phones go haywire with notifications.
“I thought we didn’t get service up here,” I said as Chris went to get our phones from the counter.
“We usually don’t,” he shrugged and handed me my phone. One look at it makes it clear what caused the flurry of notifications. Our final Match Made task has arrived.
I gasp and push my phone out of reach.
Chris sighs. “I thought they said five business days,” he seems surprised that the task came through so fast.
“I guess they didn’t mean it,” I have to admit I’m a little sad about it, too. I’m really enjoying being up here and away from it all. A small part of me feels like this notification is just interrupting something that is going superbly.
“Should we read it?” he asks when neither of us move to open the notification.
“I guess we have to, right?”
“Yeah,” he sighs and slides open the notification.
He reads for a second before handing me my phone. “You’re going to want to read this yourself.”
My eyes scan over the paragraph of text on my screen. Am I reading this right?
“We have to write each other a love letter?” I ask Chris. I don’t know why I’m so surprised, as we are supposed to be learning to be married to each other, but for some reason this seems outrageous.
“I guess so,” he shrugs. “And it seems we must send a copy to them so they can determine if we need any follow up appointments.”
I groan into the pillow I’m holding, “I haven’t known you long enough to write a good love letter.”
He laughs, “I haven’t known you that long either. They know that. Surely we can make something sound good enough that they won’t follow up.”
He looks at me and must see the skepticism I’m feeling, because he adds, “Okay, let’s write them and then we can read each other’s letters before we send them to Match Made. How’s that?”
I mean, we’re going to have to give them to each other eventually. So he’ll read what I write no matter what I do. I guess I might as well agree to the deal. At least this way we make sure the letters seem realistic.
“Yeah,” I nod. “I guess that’s the best way to make sure we write something good enough.”
He stands up off the floor and makes his way over to the kitchen table.
“Are we starting now?” I ask, my chest tightening at the thought.
“Is there a reason to wait?” his voice is soft and level, curious rather than accusatory.
Do I tell him?
Several seconds pass but it feels like hours before he says, “Would you like me to get you some paper?”
“Well, according to my paramedic,” I gesture to him, “I’m not allowed to walk on my ankle or get up by myself. So I guess I would like you to bring me some paper.”
I move my foot so it is elevated on the couch rather than the coffee table, because I can use the back of the couch to balance the ice while I write. When he comes back with a notepad and pen, I take them from him and settle in to write.
“Thank you,” I offer him a smile. “I’ll get to work, I guess.”
He doesn’t say anything as he makes his way back to the kitchen table to work on his letter. I stare down at the blank page in front of me, trying to think of what to write. I remember what my mother said when she taught me how to lie.
“It is best,” she told me, “when you are telling a lie, to keep it as close to the truth as possible. That way, it is easier to remember.”
That sounded like solid advice for this moment, so I chose to write as much of the truth as I could. I put pen to paper and began.
I always hoped I would find someone to spend my life with, but I never expected I would find it this soon. And I never dreamed I would find it with you.
You are a kind and caring man whose dream to be a husband and father comes through in every one of your actions. Your careful consideration of the house you designed, your love of fancy cuisine, and your attention to my needs have all been appreciated more than you could ever know.
From the moment I first saw you, I knew I would be comfortable in your presence. Each moment I have spent with you has helped me to learn more about myself and grow in my understanding of what it means to be married. I am better for having known you.
One day, when I’m old and gray, I will sit on the porch swing and tell my grandchildren about our story. About why it started and how it grew. And when I do, I will tell them of your kind and generous heart and your ability to love without ceasing.
I will tell them how you cared for me even when I didn’t want to be cared for, and how you gave up everything you ever wanted just to make me happy.
And when they ask about you, I will show them your picture. The one I took today on the top of your favourite mountain. I will show them what it means to dream and what it means to live a life worth having.
I will forever be grateful for this experience and for getting to know you. And I hope our lives turn out just like a fairy tale.
I look down at my letter. It is truthful and honest, but it skirts around the issue of us staying together very nicely, I think.
I look over and notice Christopher is still working, so I decide to copy the letter out neater to make it easier to read. I busy myself with putting pen to paper. I am so focused on completing the letter that I almost don’t see Chris look over at me and smile.
I really don’t want to hurt him.