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Authors: Jane Larry

Love Letters (4 page)

BOOK: Love Letters
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First, he figured
he had to position himself for a scholarship. So he made sure he got on all the
relevant athletic and educational programs in school. At present, he still
tried to perform well on each of them. But given his tight schedule, he often
prioritized tasks and just did the minimum requirement on others. Second, he
decided he had to be financially independent as well. So without his mother’s
consent, he took on several jobs with a few charitable organizations in town so
he could spend for his extracurricular activities. He shared that he has done
everything from delivering groceries to physically impaired individuals to
street sweeping. And now, he even added coaching Little League to his
responsibilities. He said he could opt for bigger paying gigs if he wanted but
he appreciated how his recent connections were able to bulk up his school
records significantly. If there was anything he needed, it was the chance to be
more eligible for college admission. He said once that was settled, his third
objective was to find part time work that would earn him enough to keep his mom
from worrying about him once he was enrolled.

If he could, John
said would have just coasted through high school like every other person, maybe
even play in a band. He admitted that he knew Lisa for some time now and was
envious of her lack of restrictions, particularly the way she was able to do whatever
she wanted to. Even more so, she wasn’t afraid how people saw her and didn’t
care how she would be treated.

“Wait, what?!” Lisa
interjected.

“Well, you like
hanging out on the bleachers post practice, right? I left my towel once on the
benches and had to come back after practice, that’s when I first noticed.
Usually, people gathered there when we were around running drills. But you’d
come right after we’ve packed up, when it was quiet.”

“…oh,” Lisa said,
somewhat embarrassed.

John laughed again.
“Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t a big deal. I just noticed.”

It was then that he
received a text message.

*            
*             *

John’s friends
weren’t able to dig up any relevant leads on “Louie” but they were able to come
up with a few possibilities for the recipient of the letters, ‘Irene’. So John
and Lisa started driving up to each of their homes hoping they could talk to
them about the matter. Unluckily, the first two addresses were no longer
viable. And as they narrowed down the list, Lisa became more and more
agitated. 

“Are they
serious?!” she barked at John after receiving disappointing news yet again.
“Were they really looking or did they just give us random information?”

“Hey, my guys are
good. And it’s not like you’d even get up to this point if you did it alone.”

“Well, I wouldn’t.
But I certainly wouldn’t be wasting my time either.”

“Okay. Okay. We’ll
do this last one and then I’ll take you home.”

Their last stop was
a fifteen minute drive from the previous and it was unexpectedly more upscale
than all the other homes they’ve been to. In fact, it was so ritzy that the
idea of having someone walk down the long driveway to answer questions
pertaining to an English project was intimidating, not to mention embarrassing.
John and Lisa had to pass the baton back and forth for some time before they
both decided they would press on the bell at the same time. A voice was
broadcasted through the intercom asking about their identities and intentions.
And Lisa had to uneasily respond…

“Hi...
uhm
...we’re Lisa and John. And we’re here for Irene. We
were hoping to ask some questions about her and Louie…”

A 30 second hush
came over the dialogue before the gate buzzed and opened itself. And then the
voice on the intercom asked them to, “Come in…”

Lisa walked in
cautiously while John jumped on his car drove it as close to the front door as
he could. When he got out, he urged Lisa to hurry up as he didn’t want to be
the one talking about the love letters when the stranger came. Lisa delayed
herself even more, hoping that she would be exempted from having to explain her
absurd intentions. Regrettably for her, she still had to face up to her own
shadow as the attendant came soon after she arrived on the front porch.

“Please follow me,”
he commanded. And they were led into a long hall with expensive portraits and
crystal effects. On the first right was another huge door which the man tapped
lightly before he opened and introduced the two guests. Taking in deep breaths,
John and Lisa entered with great anticipations. But as things progressed, it
suddenly dawned on her that she hadn’t prepared any questions other than “Did
you write this?” and “So what happened?” It was thick of her to expect that people
she didn’t know would just open up about sensitive topics. This wasn’t a movie.
This was reality. And she could have at least brought “Irene” a small token or
gift to ease her way into the person’s favor.

Without noticing
it, Lisa’s hands began to tremble and her walk became heavy. John, sensing the
panic, held out and gently tugged her stone frozen body towards the chairs.
When they sat down, the hostess, who was about six years older than they were,
showed them a kind smile while she poured some juice to drink. She then lightly
moved the glasses to her guests’ direction before asking…

“So, you’re here to
talk about Irene and Louie?”

“…
uhm
, yes,” Lisa confirmed. “I’m sorry. It didn’t even cross
our minds that it was late.”

“That’s okay,” the
lady consoled. “It’s not every day I get to talk about them.”

“Wait...,” John
interjected. “So you’re not Irene?”

“Hardly,” she said
with such shrewd tone that John had a sinking suspicion that Lisa wasn’t going
to get what she wanted. “Well, in a way, I am. But my name is Natalie. I assume
you’re currently going to Great Rapids High School. I’m actually an alumnus.”

“I see,” John
responded. “But what did you mean by what you said?”

“Well, there was
this class I was taking when I was in 11
th
grade and the final project
for the year was a short story. I made one based on my relationship with a
boyfriend who was one year older. But when he got into college…he...changed his
mind about us.”

Natalie poured
herself some tea to clear her throat. And then she continued on by saying…

“So I had to deal.
But it was hard for me. I wasn’t really that confident of a girl. And Greg was
the first guy who I had ever taken a chance on. My world revolved around him
for a while. And like the story I did, I was hoping we’d have a happy ending as
well. But that wasn’t going to happen anymore. So I tried to change things.
That’s when Louie came along…”

“I don’t
understand…,” Lisa impatiently jeered.

“For some time, I kept
going back to the writing I did and figured out how I could redeem myself from
the situation. It was clear I loved Greg more than he loved me. And the
unfairness of it all was infuriating. I just wished I could’ve had an option.
That my story didn’t end up as tragically as it did. So I figured I’d create
someone who was waiting in the wings. That was Louie. And after the idea came
to me, I started making love letters. For a while, it made it seem like I had a
new lease on love. But eventually reality settled in and I began to see the
absurdity of it all.”

Natalie paused and
took another sip of her tea. “I woke up and realized I was still alone. The
love I wanted was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. And no one was
really coming to save me. I had to stop holding on to the idea because it
wasn’t taking me anywhere.”

“So you packed them
all up in an envelope and inserted it in a book?” asked Lisa.

“Yes. I figured it
was still part of the story I made. And then, I graduated and forgot all about
it...until now.”

Lisa’s head was
spinning. She definitely was not expecting that twist. All this time, she was
looking forward to meeting Louie. And here, she’s being told that he never
existed.

“I’m sorry,”
Natalie said, recognizing the disappointment. “Did he matter to you?”

“No, not really,”
John interjected. “She was just using the characters for her own writing
project. We’re actually doing the same thing for the same class.”

“Let’s go,” Lisa
demanded. “I want to go home.” And with that, she stood up and paced towards
the front door.

John and Natalie
exchanged courtesies before he went on and followed the disconcerted Lisa. When
he got out, she was already halfway towards the gate. So he hurriedly started
the car and drove to her side.

“What’s wrong with
you!?” John yelled out from the driver’s seat. “Get in! NOW!”

Lisa followed suit
and kept quiet for the duration of the drive, speaking only when she had to
give home directions. When they reached her place, she immediately got out of the
Jeep, without thanking John for his efforts. That evening, she tried to sort
out her thoughts, hoping to uncover why she reacted the why she reacted when
she learned of the truth. She definitely was not hoping to fall in love. But
somehow, she was attached to Louie; attached to the man she decided Louie was
in her story.

While sipping a can
of Coke, Lisa finally was able to afford herself a hearty laugh for falling for
the same damn thing as Natalie did but within another plot. She was so
engrossed with an idea that was inspired by something none existent that she
chased after it without thinking about its rationality. It was like the
opposite of fear. And it was as addicting as much as the latter was crippling.
She wanted it for all the reasons it wasn’t. And for the most part, she
realized, she drew...and pushed people away with the same misguided thought
process. We love and hate strangers for what we think they are and what we want
them to be instead of who they are and who they will be. We get attached to
these ideals and blind ourselves so much that we end up looking like a fool.

*            
*             *

“We could love a
flower that lives on a star and see the whole sky in bloom. But the reality is,
there’s no flower there. And that could never be a possibility. What this says
about the feeling of love is controversial. But I would dare assert that like
everything else, love is all in the mind. For the most part, it is a choice in
the same way it is everyone’s choice to be okay after someone very important to
them loses their life and to dread a place where they had nearly lost theirs.
If they wanted to, they could be doing the exact opposite; carrying out what’s
predictable or unforeseeable. But it takes awareness and control. So if you
must love, hate, cheer or avoid something, you should at least be informed of
what it is about – because ignorance, even though blissful, won’t push you
forward to the right direction. Love is never real if you don’t base it on
what’s there, what’s happening, and unquestionably, on what the person is.”

“Thank you Miss
Reynolds! That was insightful,” said Mr.
Kallum
as
everyone in class applauded her short presentation. “Now, we move on to the
next one...Mr. Mitchell, would you do the honors.”

Lisa looked on as
John Mitchell made his way to the front. He seemed confident about what he had
done. And he definitely looked sharp wearing that blue polo shirt. It’s a good
thing that guy is patient, Lisa thought; otherwise, they wouldn’t have finished
that report. But it was strange that he didn’t insist on Lisa’s input after
they made it halfway. Nevertheless, she believed in him. And she was sure he
would make something great out of it. So while he slaved away in front of the
computer during the last three days of Spring Break, she resolved to help him
out instead with taking care of his grandfather. Never would she have imagined
this was a possibility before, let alone just after seven days. But reality had
a funny way of working itself out.

BOOK: Love Letters
12.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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