Thursday, April 18, 2024

All-University Love Letter Writing Contest Winning Piece

by the Department of English and Literature and the Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center together with the English Society | March 10, 2023

Dear Dante,

June 2, almost six years ago, was when I first met you. Your hair was long and you dressed in my lucky color. I asked to take a picture of you, scared I’d never see you again. We met again the next day. Red really is my favorite, lucky color.

July 31 of 2021 was when I wanted to make you pasta. You came over, still dressed in red but your hair much shorter. I lied about cooking too much food. You joked about how I made you feel loved. For half a second, the kitchen table had become an altar and there I was—offering in hand, heart on my sleeve, feet planted on a church floor—ready to love you. But only for half a second; I’m not ready, not yet.

August 1, 2021, you were able to stay the night. I told my mom you were my best friend. We stole liquor from my stepdad’s shelf, some espresso cognac that tasted more coffee than cognac. We tiptoed so quietly I was afraid you’d hear my heartbeat. We got so drunk that I grew terrified of how loud it had become. Only when I pressed my ear against your chest did I realize I was hearing the noisy hearts of two. You lied about the caffeine getting to you; I pretended to fall asleep.

August 2, 2021, I wake up to the glint in your eyes. When you told me the power went out, I couldn’t understand—the sun had never left. Later that day we traveled to the sea and laid next to each other like Annabel Lee. I couldn’t take my eyes off you. Even by dusk it was so beautifully bright.

August 3, 2021, my mom figured you weren’t my best friend. I had to see you in secret playgrounds and parking lots. We played house, a family of two and a makeshift, teenage vow. It was on that playground swing I had decided that in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, you are a wanted man—I’ll love you dead or alive.

February 22, 2023, this morning you made us coffee. Not a trace of liquor, but my head still spins when I drink it with you. I love our little routine in our little apartment, your hair cut short and dyed red. Our lucky color. Your name we chose together, our kitchen table an altar forever.

I was afraid to tell you before, so I’ll tell you now. I do, I do, I do. I love you so much, Dante. I do.

Love,

Maenam

Since 2012, the Department of English and Literature has organized the contest in February, celebrating winning works of students.

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