Tucked away back in a corner were the signature blue airmail envelopes containing love letters from my then future ex-husband. They were way sweeter and way more articulate than I remembered. I met him when I worked in a hotel the summers of 95 and 96 on the Isle of Mull in Scotland on a work abroad program. He was the barman and I worked in reception. He was English. Well, he’s still English; he just was invited not to be my husband anymore.
Our tryst had begun my second summer there. I had gone back to America after that to return to work and school. He stayed in Scotland to finish out the season at the hotel before going back down to England for the winter. He missed me, longed for me even. His bed was empty and cold. He loved me more than he could express. One envelope even had S.W.A.K. on the back flap. At the end of one letter he had spelled out love with tiny x’s. Sweet. Tom, you sweet, sweet man who wrote sweet letters, if only that had been our whole story.
And there were the letters from Robert. Ah, Robert, the brother of one of my co-workers at the hotel. Instant cosmic connection. Old souls reunited. Letters on thin blue onion skin paper. Pale words penciled in tiny script, five pages double-sided. Saying everything, saying nothing. Words of guarded love, words of universal love unbound. Memories of our time together that first summer I was on Mull, when he told me I had the brightest aura of anyone he had ever seen. Books, gifts, presents sent.
The connection was so strong that when I was back home I knew when he was sick. He knew when I was feeling down. We met twice when I came back the second summer. Our connection scared him his sister told me, old scars still raw. But I was not the one who caused them. He ran like a scared rabbit. Oh, Robert, if there had been an us, there never would have been a Tom.
Rebekah Spivey for The Poplar Grove Muse