It’s come down to this: I love you. I love you more than I can possibly hope to tell you, and I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to explain to you why I love you. But I’m going to give it a shot, because that’s what you always tell me to do. You always tell me to try something before I give up on it completely, and by God I love you for it.
On the day we met, I felt something stir within me. My heart beat faster than I thought was healthy, and I thought I was going to die. It was wonderful and terrifying at the same time, and I feel blessed to have been able to lay my eyes on you. I don’t think you even noticed me, but that’s okay.
You were there for me when I couldn’t find a job that I liked. You made me love being a waiter, because you told me it was good for me to talk to people a little bit more. So, I spoke to everyone I could. I didn’t just ask for their life stories. I became the best damn waiter in that place. I let customers talk about themselves, what they wanted from life and from each other, and everyone left happy. Even the ones who cried when they were talking. I always received good tips.
When I left the job to work at a record store, you told me it was good for me to find new music, because music makes the soul feel alive. I listened to something from every department in the store, and everything you told me you loved. I listened to Disney, to rap, to grunge, to the most ridiculous pop songs in history, and I left work with a bounce in my step every day.
When I started to work at a library, you said it was good for me to find some quiet. I needed the time to reflect, and I needed the time to read. I had to get to know myself. You told me that every day I should write down something positive about myself. In the seven weeks I worked in the library, before I found a new job, I wrote down thirty five things that I liked about myself, and every one of them led back to you.
I read a book every couple of days, no matter how long they were. I read the great classics, and I read the bestsellers. I read books for children, and books for people in love, and I read a lot of poetry.
That was when I left the library and tried to make a living as a poet. You told me it was good to speak in front of a crowd, because I needed the confidence. Every day, I wrote half a dozen poems, and every night without fail I found somewhere to read them. People began telling me where to go read next, and they began to follow me around the city to hear me read my new poetry. After six weeks, and approximately two hundred and fifty poems, I published a book. The printing was rushed, and the first run sold out in a day.
I felt wonderful, but I couldn’t see you as much, so I left the poetry scene and became a florist. You said it was good for me to get in touch with nature. Every day, customers would come in looking for flowers for their loved ones, and I would always know what they wanted. Every night, I gave you a single flower. In the five weeks I worked as a florist, I gave you thirty four flowers.
Then you left, and I had to try find you. I left my job, and I bought a one way ticket across the country. I imagined you would say it was good for me to travel, because it was good for me to see more of the world. But I needed money. Everywhere I went, I offered people a listening ear. They would buy me dinner, and then I would sell them something I had bought from a second hand store. Sometimes I would sell them a brilliant record. Other times I would sell them a book that I had loved. Some people didn’t want something they could buy themselves, so I wrote them a poem on the spot and they paid for it.
I visited twenty seven countries in four weeks, before coming home. I took a job in a spa, because I thought you might suggest I needed somewhere to rest. I recommended different massages to the customers, and tried a different one myself every evening before going home.
I didn’t stay in the spa for long. I found a job as a midnight host on a local radio station, and I thought you might say it was good for me to tell my story. Every night, I told people about my different jobs and the different people I met along the way, and every night I ended by saying the same magic words that kept people coming back and phoning in: Cynthia, if you’re out there, I miss you.
Every night, dozens of people called saying they thought they had seen you. No one even knew what you looked like, but they all had a story to tell. I left the radio station and started a newspaper, and every page was filled with stories of people meeting you.
I never wrote a story for the paper.
And it all comes down to this, Cynthia: I love you. You made me a better man. You made me see the world, experience life, and you taught me how it feels to be devoted to someone. I love you, and I miss you, and I want you to come back.
If you ever read this Cynthia, please come back.
Your long lost admirer,
This story was written using this photo as a prompt: http://writingpromptphotos.tumblr.com/post/76620755343/a-needle-pen-photograph-copyright-2012-paul