I read the promise, at least I thought it was a promise. I knew no one in my family would approve but I really had nothing to lose. Being alone for these past years, I was desperate to exchange that condition for one I could enjoy, be happy and free.
It came to me in a letter. An odd missive, lavender in color and penned with the unusual script of bygone days. Immediately intrigued, I carefully opened the envelope, noticing it was also scented with lavender.
The paper inside was of time-worn cream hue and folded precisely. Someone had taken great care in preparing it and my curiosity grew. I unfolded the fragile crisp paper, being careful not to tear it. It was then I thought this might have been written by someone a hundred years or more ago, and just landed in my mailbox by a fluke of some sort. I turned over the envelope again, read the address and indeed, my name and address were there.
Putting the envelope down, I returned to the letter itself. It was a love note written in simple calligraphy so beautiful. It was an invitation of sorts, to a meeting at a presently deserted address. The date for the meeting was shocking, it was tonight! At the end of the letter were the words, “I promise you we’ll be together forever. I have planned it for us precisely”.
Now what? I turned the note and envelope over again, rereading, and thought, why not? This was obviously written so many years ago there would be no one at the meeting place, and of course it was actually an abandoned churchyard now. I looked at the clock, an hour till the meeting was to take place.
I dressed carefully. I wanted to appear friendly, but cautious. I looked at myself in the mirror and suddenly laughed out loud. What do you think you’re doing? What do you think will happen? A golden coach appears and you’ll be whisked off by a handsome prince to live in his castle? I nervously laughed again, but finished getting reading anyway.
Arriving at the address, now a quiet old cemetery with mourners of the graves also long dead, I looked around. I stepped into the remnants of the old church building and looked at my watch again. This was the meeting time. Was that a warm breeze? I turned to see a gentleman dressed in fine clothing of the nineteenth century, and felt my breath quickly leave my body. He stepped closer as he must have realized I might faint. He spoke my name. How could that be? I turned to walk away but I was frozen in the moment.
He reached out and I felt his hand, he was real! I thought at first he appeared in my imagination, but no, he was a real person standing there, saying my name. I recovered enough to ask if he sent the letter and he nodded yes. “It has been so long since we were supposed to meet here, and I thought I would try once more.”
The more he spoke, the more relaxed I became, believing what I first thought a dream, was true. He told the story of being delayed at their first intended meeting, here in the church, to be married. He has since sent a missive on this date every year to meet again. “Now here you are”.
Somehow, incredibly, it all made sense to me. I stepped closer and felt his embrace so comforting, I was instantly relaxed. We talked for hours about surprisingly familiar things, as if I had known him for many years.
Whatever happens next, I am ready.