Our theme for the month of October is “the elements.”
I know you don’t like the city and sometimes this makes me like it more. I can’t help it. I fell in love with New York because I fall in love with everything. I’m enamored with the eight million people and the eight million stories I will never know. The buzzing sign advertising Chinese take-out at 3 a.m. The exhaling buses. The pigeons. The noise.
I don’t know why I ever tried to make it work with you because you don’t like cheese and that’s crazy. However, it did work well when we went to that Italian restaurant where they served breadsticks with a small plastic cup of cheese sauce and a small plastic cup of marinara sauce. More for me.
Sometimes when I’m cleaning, I just throw away pennies. It occurred to me recently that you would never do that. You are so methodical. You probably have a special place just for pennies you find on the floor. Or perhaps you never find pennies on the floor at all because you have a place for your change when you empty your pockets at the end of the day. Maybe it’s a small jar that you took from your grandfather’s barn. That must be it.
For most of my twenties I’ve been trying to find someone who makes me feel the same way I did when I was nineteen on a tram in the Tampa airport and I couldn’t breathe because when the doors opened I would (finally) see you again.
We both knew it could never happen. In a different world, yes. On another planet, totally. I was half-expecting it when you asked me if I wanted to run away with you. I considered it, but there were no space ships involved, so I said no.
Thank you for always being the one who books our hotel rooms and for always remembering to check if there is a hot tub.
There is a time of day when everyone is beautiful. Low light, slanted sun. Hair, skin, and eyes glow. At some point, the golden hour started to last all day. No matter the hour, my eyes started finding you first.
If you haven’t gotten the hint by now, propose to me in a hot air balloon.
You wrote the majority of your letters to me in pencil. This worries me, because it means I can only unfold and refold them so many times before they begin to fade. Already, the grey has begun to rub onto my fingers. The truth is I’m not yet ready for them, nor you, to disappear completely.
I can’t remember why it was that you had no money when we were dating. Remember when I bought you a JCrew sweater and then you bought me a slice of pizza and I wasn’t even mad because it was basically the same amount of money that we spent when compared to our incomes? I hope you know that money was never the reason we didn’t work out. I really never minded paying.
Carbon has been called “the tramp of the elements” because it bonds with everything. Maybe she just loves to be in love.
When you asked me why I got teary-eyed opening the necklace you got me for my birthday I explained that a man had ever bought me jewelry before.
Do you remember when we ate Chef Boyardee ravioli cold, out of the can, at 1:00 a.m. on January first? You got out of bed and brought it from the kitchen triumphantly, with two forks. I was skeptical at first, but it was undeniably delicious. This will always be my favorite memory of us.
There is a verse in the Bible that explains how men (and women, I assume) should sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. This means that we make each other better, we build each other up, we bring out the best in each other, and we keep each other accountable. But what happens when that person you go to– the person who makes you feel like the greatest and truest version of yourself — leaves? What happens then?
Caroline Higgins (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.