by Debra Dolan
On a rainy winter afternoon, feeling particularly unenergetic and alone, I flicked the TV remote in search of company, discovering When Harry Met Sally was about to begin. Even though I had viewed this movie gem many-many times I was about to experience valued insight. A month previous I had received the huge collection of the writer’s work, compiled by her son Jacob after her death, The Most of Nora Ephron, as a birthday gift from Mike. He knew that Nora’s writing resonated with me; the brilliant takes on life with humor and raw emotional honesty intertwined. Knowing that the screenplay had been included in the publication I convinced myself to read along with the actors on-screen. After a significant amount of hunting on many shelves I found the hefty volume, opening its cover to the first page, and discovered the inscription. It was from my lover; the man who rarely has purchased me a card in all our years together.
Suddenly, with every fibre of my being, I realized what an immature, unrealistic partner I had been for feeling utterly disappointed that he wouldn’t visit Hallmark and write sentiments of love at special occasions. I had spent angst filled evenings with friends uttering my disbelief and sadness over this romantic condition that I had imposed onto our relationship. “I don’t do cards on demand,” he would say. I would sob.
That day I realized that love language comes in many forms and I had blinded myself by only accepting my contrasting desired expression. Each partner needs to be able to comfortably share their feelings in their own authentic natural way for love not to be blocked. Given I had always thought that there was simply nothing sexier, or more joyful, than reading with ‘your darling’ he had indeed been expressing love and friendship by honouring our shared experiences since 2002, with books. As I moved through my apartment it was revealed each one had been intimately inscribed with a hand-written message that often was a narrative of their own. I discovered, together sequentially, they are a love letter.
Debra Dolan lives on the west coast of Canada, is a long time (45+ years) private journal writer, and an avid reader of women’s memoir. She has been a member of Story Circle Network since 2009.