Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Young Love’s Recital

“How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossow shew’th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu’th. …”

Dear Darling,

She played piano wonderfully. A distant friend of mine, during her senior recital. She sent an invitation, but it was mostly a courtesy and a formality; I’m here pretty much at my own invitation. I harbor no illusions that my presence is of any significance to those gathered. I guess you could say I’m here for me. I figured a little live music and change of scenery wouldn’t be unpleasant.

I feel a sad sort of bemusement as I look around the room. There are familiar faces from churches in my past, few of whom know me, or if they do, bother to recognize me. One assistant pastor greeted me by name which surprised me.

I wonder how it is a person can amass so many friends. My own funeral could never pack this many people into a room, there’s well over a hundred, just for two girls. I’m sitting by myself, and I can’t be sure, but I think the girl in red across the room is making eyes at me. I’m sure I stand out, being tall, well-dressed and single. It’s been weeks since I’ve worn a tie. It’s an improvement.

That’s her boyfriend over there, the one whose height nearly rivals mine. Ours is an on-and-off friendship, but mostly off. We’ve had conversations lasting hours, pondering questions, sharing stories, being thoughtful about life and its meaning. He always ends by saying he enjoys our talks and we should do it more often. He never does.

It’s important to remember, this isn’t my turf, these aren’t my people. I’m just here for the music and to support a friend…one who doesn’t even know I’m here. But at times, it’s tempting to compare this place to my college experience, and think how it would have been nice to attend a cloistered liberal arts college which focuses on teamwork and friendship. It’s a club. These people know everything about each other but little about real life. They don’t know that they don’t know. They’re in debt up to their scalps, but they’re too early in to feel that weight, and anyway, it’s what all their friends did. They’ve only ever lived with, traveled with and studied with Christian friends. They haven’t had to defend their faith, and the most dangerous and rebellious they’ve gotten is sipping wine at the house of a graduated friend. This is the era of society and silliness and selfishness. I guess maybe that’s the way it should be. Let the young people be young…why should they forgo these years just because I came by another road?

There’s something I like about being an unknown; tall, dark and incognito. I guess I’ll always be alone in the crowd. The consolation is, I’m armed with the hidden means and knowledge to save the lives of these strangers if need be, though they don’t know it.

It’s actually a dual recital, with my friend’s counterpart playing violin, and admirably so. Upon the night’s conclusion, the usual applause is checked when the violinist is approached by a man who takes both her hands and speaks her name. The audience audibly sucks their collective breath in and holds it, knowing what’s about to follow. He sinks to one knee and proposes. She said yes. We all cheered. My heart sighed.

Young love. Not yet newly-christened in the latest decade of their lives, barely suited to take on the world, and already betrothed. The sweet is tempered with knowledge that life has a lot to throw at them that they don’t even realize yet, that soon they’ll have to leave this artificially protective bubble and make their own way in the world, and all won’t be as it once was. They don’t know it now, but they’re going to miss these years.

A queer thought revisits; that I’ve already missed “young love.” I’ve already missed a spring of love when we could have been carefree and innocent. I may not be old in the eyes of men, but there are more miles on my heart than my birth certificate would suggest. Now love, when it comes, will have to compete with work and study and obligations. It makes me sad.

Oh, I’m ripe for the picking tonight my dear. My heart is raw and exposed like a nerve. It wants only compassion and tenderness. You need only stretch out your hand tonight to make it yours.

So, armed with a somber melancholy, I set off to make the rounds, checking in with people in a half-hearted attempt to shift the focus off of myself. Most of them are about to sleep, or occupied with their own problems. Seems I’m not the only one feeling whimsically forlorn tonight.

I have an interview tomorrow for a third job. I should either be sleeping or working, but I felt more like hiding. I worked last night and slept this morning, so despite what my tired eyes are telling me, odds are I won’t be able to sleep yet.

I see the neighbors through the window, eating dinner and then implementing a school night lights-out. I think about the concept of bedtime, and how we’ll make our kids go to bed, and then we’ll stay up. When I was young, I used to think it was so unfair my parents could stay up as late as they wanted. I’d dread having to get up to the bathroom because they were usually sitting in the living room and would chastise me for being up late.

I think about how I’ve helped raise three of my siblings and am still scared of having children.

I wonder why I worry, about children or finances or love when God’s always taken care of me. You’d think I’d have learned by now.

I think about how, with my schedule changes, I don’t really dream anymore. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I’m thinking about coming home and finding you waiting for me wearing one of my shirts. You should definitely wear one of my shirts.

Life is poised to be amazing, my dear. All I lack is you.

Love,
Beren

“Yet, be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-Master’s eye.”

– John Milton

November 15, 2013 - Posted by | Loneliness, Nights Like These | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Beren and Luthien. And Milton. Beautiful! 🙂

    Comment by Elizabeth | November 26, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] yet another friend got engaged. With suspicious haste, a former acquaintance also got married today. And you might […]

    Pingback by Hard Days and Long Nights « Letters to Luthien | February 2, 2014 | Reply


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