My mother says that we first met when we were babies. Mum used to go to this ‘Mother’s Circle’ thing when I was born, and she remembers your mother there, with you as a new-born.
But my memory of you doesn’t start there, of course.
We lived a street and a half away from each other. I’d see you sometimes while riding in the back of Mum’s car – you would be riding your trike around the court. I would have been around 5, I guess, and distinctly remember wishing I could get out and ride with you.
We didn’t go to the same kinder, but as you know, we attended the same primary school. I was always a little uncomfortable – a little lost, displaced. You were always loud, boisterous, and on top of things. Everyone wanted to be your friend. I wanted to be your friend also – but I was too shy to make myself known to you.
By Year 8, I was convinced that I was in love with you. Occasionally we’d talk – just passing by stuff, but enough to keep me going for a few weeks. I watched you change from a little girl to young woman, at school. I noticed how your skirts kept getting shorter, how you started paying more attention to your appearance, and how other boys began to notice you. I noticed you from the start – before all that. I would have given anything just to hold your hand once. Just for you to notice me and see only me for a tiny bit of time. But I was too shy, and you probably never knew.
School came and went, and for a while I lost track of you. I’d walk past your house hoping to catch sight of you, and sometimes I did – but only fleeting glimpses. More often, I’d see your Dad mowing the lawn, or trimming bushes. When he began giving me suspicious looks, I quit walking by.
I know this sounds creepy, Sarah, and I suppose it is. But I followed your life till this day. I knew some of your friends, and I would casually find out where you were at, what you were doing. I know how you went through a whole spate of jobs for a number of years, from stacking supermarket shelves to cashiering at the servo. I know about Julian – your first serious relationship. And I know how he left you in the lurch with the baby. That kinda tore me up a little. I used to fantasise how I would have looked after you both, and how I would have loved you both so much.
And then you got married. I’ll admit – although I was happy for you, I cried, almost every night, for a long time. I knew that I was being ridiculous about it – you didn’t – and don’t – even know me. I even went to see some shrink about it. But that’s just the way it was. I have always felt that we were destined to be together, and I have been waiting for that moment all my life.
So time has passed, and we’ve both gotten older. I’m in my forties – and you’d be what, 44? You’re single again, I know. Mum gossips about everything (though I love her). I know you’ve ‘made it’ in the corporate world. I’m proud that you fought your way up there, and I knew you’d get what you wanted eventually.
Anyway, Sarah – the question is obvious. Why am I writing to you today?
Well, today is probably my last day and when you receive this, I’ll be gone. I have been very ill for the last 8 months and knew it was coming. I can tell that I won’t make it for much longer, and it doesn’t really worry me that much, truth be told. I’m kinda tired of everything anyway. But I couldn’t – just couldn’t – go, without saying goodbye to my one and only love.
I hope you have a great rest of your life Sarah. I know you better than most people, and I know what a beautiful person you are.