Dear my future husband,
I don’t even know if you exist, but I don’t want to be the girl who didn’t write you a letter just because she wasn’t sure you were real. Everyone deserves at least one fantastical belief in their lifetime, so you are mine (I grew up without believing in Santa Claus).
Do you know when I realized you might really be out there? I may have told you this story already; if so, feel free to skip to the part marked ***.
Once, I was having lunch with a former boss/current friend who had just returned from an extended vacation to Europe. She was originally planning on going for about 5 weeks and eventually ended up staying for 5 months. Why? Because she had met someone. Now, she was not the type to get caught up in a romance made for the movies. She actually reminded myself a lot of me, only much more outgoing. She didn’t care about the mushy stuff that some girls attribute to “meant to be.” And yet, here she was, repeatedly changing plane tickets in order to stay with this guy she’d randomly met through the most “if this isn’t fate then it’s a remarkably good impersonator” moment.
During lunch, she was telling me about this guy and how everyone who saw them together immediately said what a cute couple they were and that it was obvious how much they cared about each other. These two, who had only known each other for a few weeks at the time–they were already inspiring mushy feelings in others! If this person wasn’t sitting right across from my pad thai speaking these words from her own mouth I wouldn’t have believed it. “Oh, you’re just telling me a variation of Eat, Pray, Love,” I would have said. “And you’ve chosen the wrong audience because I don’t fall for that sort of romantic trope. Give me a realistic love story, please–preferably one that includes lots of miscommunication and misplaced anger. That I can understand.”
But the words were real and they were rushing into my ears at an uncontrollable speed, filling my head with questions. How can someone so cynical be describing a relationship built on chance meetings and impulsive decisions? How can someone so independent be explaining how she didn’t want to spend one day apart from another human being? How can she be considering going back to Europe indefinitely? How can this be real? How is this real? Real? How? How is it? How?
Her story was long, but at the end of it, she was actually looking for advice. About what isn’t relevant, especially because I was in no position to give it, but what I told her was this: “People say, ‘Things happen for a reason.’ But they only come up with the reason afterward, once they’ve decided what the meaning is. So the reason can be whatever you want it to be.”
And it’s true. You can explain away anything if you want to. My friend could have decided that meeting this man on this trip was only a sign that she wasn’t happy with her former life. The man could have simply been a symbol that she needed to change things. Or, he could have been the specific one she was supposed to meet, at the exact time she was supposed to meet him, so she could spend the rest of her life with him.
I won’t tell you what she chose right now (because as I am writing this, she has not yet chosen–but ask me after you read it and I’ll let you know). What I will tell you is how her story made me, for the first time, think that I might in fact one day feel how she felt when she met this man. Up until that point, I’d always figured the “you just know” feeling was reserved for those who jumped into relationships too fast. It’s an excuse to get married early, a reason to have kids immediately, a factor in bragging to your friends about how happy you are. But once this woman who reminded me of me admitted she felt it, it made me realize that maybe it wasn’t completely out of reach for me. Maybe it really was what everyone said–that I just simply hadn’t found the person who made me feel it yet.
All of this is to say:
***Thank you for proving to me that silly cheesy romantic things do actually exist in real life. Thank you for reminding me every day that you don’t have to be weak to appreciate kindness; you don’t have to give up your independence to enjoy a life together; you don’t have to sacrifice yourself to be part of another. Thank you for encouraging me to become a better person but still thinking I’m amazing even if I never make it there. Thank you most of all for being my reason everything happened for.
And also, of course, for indulging my need to write you a letter before I ever met you. I’m sorry other people read this before you did–but not that sorry. The world deserves to know just how wonderful you are for me.
Love, your future wife