Tilting At Windmills: Love Letters: A Cautionary Tale - Encore
Published: July 29th, 2022
By: Shelly Reuben

Tilting at Windmills: Love Letters: A Cautionary Tale - Encore Sun Columnist and author Shelly Reuben.

The other day, I was going through a “treasure box” that I’d filled with letters from my late husband, my parents, friends, and a favorite aunt and uncle. As I was rereading them (with tenderness, laughter, and gratitude), I remembered this column from many years ago, and I thought it might inspire you to … Oh, well. See for yourselves.

Dearest (fill in the blanks):

Since you have been away from me (on the battlefield ... in school ... taking care of your sick father), I have had an epiphany! Suddenly, my darling (husband ... wife ... lover), I realize that you are more to me than just a (delicious ... delightful ... de-lovely) assortment of arms, legs, torso, feet, and head, and that what really makes you so (beautiful ... handsome … precious) and what I am truly in love with, is your (heart ... brain ... soul ... all of the above).

Imagine my surprise!

Not many in this weary world of ours would have dropped everything to (fight for a cause ... pursue a dream ... fly to Godforsaken Wherever), and when I am not fantasizing about (kissing your earlobes ... peeling your grapes ... nibbling on the knuckles of your hands), I applaud you.

Other than the (freckles on your pug nose ... the pugnacious jut of your jaw ... your diamond blue eyes), it is your sense of honor and integrity that I love most. Well, that and your pre-adolescent (irrepressible ... embarrassing ... ludicrous) sense of humor.

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From the instant that our eyes first met across a crowded escalator – I deliberated rammed into you – I knew that for the rest of our lives, the (bicycle I would be riding ... canoe I would be paddling ... tree house I would be furnishing) would have to be built for two.

You make me laugh! You make me smile! You make me drool with anticipation at the thought of your (strong ... soft ... loving) arms around me.

And when I consider the remote possibility of having to spend the rest of my life without you in this crushingly demanding world of ours, my breathing becomes a pathetic series of hiccups, my knees start to buckle, and I spill coffee all over my parents’ expensive new Oriental rug.

I am not a pretty sight.

Otherwise (Pal ... Honey ... Buddy), all is well. Meaning that all is well except that you are not here. And that’s a pretty big “except.” So, when you can find it in your (heart ... mind ... schedule), please be advised that I would be happy to meet the (plane, camel, flying carpet) that will bring you back to me. My arms are open and my breath is bated – whatever that means.

Come soon and come safely, my (own true love ... dearest heart ... angel of sunshine).


(Fill in the blank).


Note that the above letter was never retrieved from a mailbox. It was never opened by shaky hands. It was never unfolded, read, refolded, reread, or slipped back for safekeeping into the envelope in which it came. It was never bundled up with other envelopes, tied with a red ribbon, and tucked into the secret compartment at the back of a desk drawer.

Forty years from now, when the writer of that letter has gone to the No-Check-Out-Hotel in the sky, its pages will not be strewn over the comforter on your bed as a warm reminder of a life once lived and a (boy, girl, man, woman) once loved.

WARNING: If all of your love letters are sent by computer ... if all of your correspondence is done by e-mail ... if none of your endearments are being communicated via a tangible medium (Paper. Pencil. Perfumed stationery. Foolscap. Letterhead), you are depriving yourself of future memories. Future consolation. Future sweet, sad, but lovely reminders of treasured and treasurable past.

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Pssst. A whisper in your ear. Buy a stamp. Buy a pen. It is worth the effort.

I Promise.

Copyright © Shelly Reuben, 2022. Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her writing, visit www.shellyreuben.com