Saturday, April 21, 2012

If I Was Going To Write A Love Letter by Kathleen Radigan


If I was going to write a love letter — long and heartfelt and true (which I’m not, I swear) — it would be the kind of letter that makes people weep and teems with declarations of love so fragile they dance like red ants across the page. The type of letter that gets rewritten, re-versed, quoted by hipsters with too-thick eyeglasses and embroidered onto hankies. It would burn after breakups, like forest fires of love long lost, simmering in the throats of fireplaces. I would start it by thanking some him for some incredibly sweet yet small gesture he made — slight but telling, like leaving all the lights on or driving to get pancake
mix in the middle of the night because he knew I was in dire straits. He was in his pajamas and the store clerks smirked but instead of cringing he came home and cracked jokes all night, scanning the creamy circles on the griddle for bubbles, flipping and stacking them on plates to remind me of Saturday mornings and linen, of kindness.
That anecdote, which would summarize our tender beginnings, would perhaps be accompanied by whimsical descriptions of the cinematically appealing things we did together like poking our heads out skylights of cars, feeling the galaxy spiral toward us, breezy and thumping against our cheeks. Finding perverse shapes in the clouds, I’d speak fondly of how we blamed all of our problems on Lord Byron and created spoof music videos that sent us to the carpet, scab-kneed and flush faced, honest. Perhaps I would even pepper it with descriptions like “ethereal” and “sunshiney” because I am so young, and I still look for magic in ordinary people.
Although it may seem childish, I’d sheepishly admit, we flew together on playground swings and played that elementary school game when we fell into sync. ”We’re married!”

“Oh darling, I thought the day would never come!”
A flock of birds would scatter like black beads into the sky as dusk settled around the playground.
Shifting out of parallel we’d reach for each other and cackle, “We’re breaking up! We’re having problems! Oh no, we’re divorced!!”
I would tell of these things, these perfectly crafted happenings with the shadow of something lost lingering in the corners of the prose, biting at the phrases like dust mites, but you wouldn’t notice it here unless you read my letter four or five times through. No, the first time you’d merely be charmed by the simplicity of our love, charmed and faintly envious.
At about this paragraph you would begin to roll your eyes as the prose teeter between fresh description and vaguely trite Taylor Swift rip-offs. Here is where I would talk about dancing in rainstorms and over rooftops, his hands, the arch of necks and collar bones and arms. Soon enough the words would feel new again, you’d forget that teen romance is a cliché and just want it for yourself. Then would come the tenderest paragraph, the one where I orate on how he meant everything to me, made life into an adventure, made me like waking up in the mornings and falling asleep smiling to know he was alive. You would take a break from reading, excusing yourself to check your emails or go boil macaroni. This tab would be minimized and if anyone else was in the room with you, they would notice you looking distracted and vaguely miserable as you recall some never-caught love that slipped through your butterfly net, or compare your current flawed relationship with the perfect one memorialized in my letter. Begrudging the stupidity of love in general, you’d remember why you hated The Notebook and feel a little bit neurotic, complete with a slight eye twitch. Maybe you’d turn on the TV and find only rom-coms, pace in circles and check your phone five times to no new messages. This would piss you off considerably, but eventually, because you couldn’t bare this letter ending on such a goddamn sappy note, you’d return to finish reading.

To your great satisfaction, this is where I would eloquently detail our death as a couple, two people sprouting off in different directions like the arms on an almighty tree. I would thank him for all the beautiful days, how he saved me from six months of watching clocks and taught me to open my heart and
let love splatter in again. I’d mean every word of it too, and maybe he would wake up in some college town in Virginia, check my blog and read it. Maybe he’d smile and grimace alternatively, flattered and compromised and confused by all the impressions that I published for the world to see, and how they’re gone now, and how everyone moves forward in a constant rapid motion without even stopping to say goodbye. Then he would remember some thing he had to do, log off, walk downstairs, buy a Coke.
At the vending machine he’d notice this girl with a ponytail and ask her for her name and whether she’s majoring in chem, yeah he thinks he’s seen her a few times before, and does she like some stodgy professor, and what does she think?

And maybe in her head she’ll be drafting her own love letter.

Kathleen Radigan is a seventeen year old person, writer and girl. She has previously published work that can be seen in Hackwriters, PANK Blog, Blood Lotus, Certain Circuits, Structo, The Newport Review, and several others. 

Street art by Curtis Kulig.
Photo by Adam Lawrence

Coke Weed is a new psych-folk quartet for Bar Harbor, Maine. They create sleepy, sad love songs.

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