When I was in sixth grade, our all-girls Sunday School class was asked to write letters to our future husbands. At the time, it was something treacly about abstinence, and promising to wait for him, but the thought stuck with me and I tucked the note in a box for years until I moved out and the childish letter was lost.

Now I’m twenty-two, and feel no closer to marriage than I did in that folding chair in the church basement. I’m not waiting for anyone else to start my life, but I think, sometimes, about the sort of life that would be worth sharing.

Dear somebody, my letter, if I wrote it now, would read:

Let’s get a little house
And try to grow herbs on our windowsills
Like rosemary and mint, let’s get to know
The neighbor kids and let them win at tag,
Let’s fill our walls with books
And art that our friends make.
Let’s buy our sofas at a rummage sale and
Cover the spots with afghans someone knitted.
Let’s learn to knit.

Let’s buy vegetables at the farmer’s market
On Saturday mornings, let’s know the vendors’ names
And ask about their children. Let’s buy pies from the
Amish woman in the corner, and let’s eat them for breakfast
With the newspaper open and the crossword puzzle half done.
Let’s make friends who make us want to learn
New languages, let’s take grammar books to bed,
Let’s have friends who don’t look like us, and when we’re with them
Let’s listen more than we speak.

Let’s get a little house
With fold-up chairs for company stashed in a corner
And a room just for guests, the cleanest one,
Though perhaps we’ll stack luggage or guitars in one corner.
Let’s have friends who play piano
And violin and let’s fill our living room with harmonies
While the dishes sit forgotten in the sink.
Let’s open bottles of wine and play board games on the floor,
The carpet crushing patterns on our elbows.

Let’s go on road trips
And sing along to the radio,
Or read each other novels from the shotgun seat
With different voices for each character.
Let’s spend our weekends outside
And learn to name the stars
At night, let’s watch the news together,
And when it makes us cry, let’s get on our knees
And pray clumsily to a God that we love fiercely
Though we don’t always understand.

Let’s get a little house
Let’s sort our recycling and make soup
Let’s learn to fix our bikes and water heater
And send Christmas cards with our photo.
Let’s call my parents on Sunday night, and yours on
Saturday afternoon. Let’s go to weekend barbeques
With our cousins and their cousins and their cousins.
Let’s vote in the city council election
And write letters to Congress.
Let’s learn the names of birds.

Let’s spend ourselves on our passions
Then come home
To our little house
And each others’ arms
And breathe words of comfort
To fall asleep ’til we wake
In the middle of the night with a new vision.
Let’s keep scratch paper on the nightstand
And we’ll talk about it in the morning
After breakfast, with an inch of coffee cooling in our mugs
And errands to do after, and the work we brought home
And the new gallery to visit and the neighborhood block party,
There will always be more to do,
But with you and the light streaming in through the window,
Anything seems possible.

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