June 1, 2016

A Letter to my Far Away Love: Here is what we Must Remember.

lovers, darkness

I wish I could tell you I was writing this from the back of an elephant, because that’s how I hope you picture me while I’m in Africa. Either on the back of an elephant or in the gold light of a sunset, with a big, juicy, grapefruit sky.

But I am not in either of those places right now. I’m writing to you on the concrete steps with my headlamp turned on and my head down, because the power is out and I can’t sleep.

You would be proud if you saw me, sweetheart. I do all the things my seven-year-old self promised. I am going on so many adventures. I work to create change, good change, in places where it is needed. I wake up in the mornings and Kilimanjaro peeks through the morning clouds. I go to sleep with drum rhythms and soulful voices from the village outside. And my dreams are filled with the student’s voices, Swahili verbs, school uniforms, the graduation celebrations, my African victories and defeats. And you.

I can’t sleep because I am thinking of you and all of the things I hope we never take for granted when I come back home again. I’m writing them down so that we won’t forget. And when the day comes when we are together and the moon is full and we are feeling selfish or proud (like humans tend to do) we can pull out this letter and remember how just the promise of holding your hands in the future was enough. And then, maybe, we can remind our friends to be a little bit gentler with their lovers, too, because kissing one person good night each night is the most beautiful thing I can think of right now.

Remind me, my love, when my heart is restless and my legs won’t sit still, how a smile on your face calms my heart, and how sweet it is to wake up in the mornings when my skin smells like your shampoo. Tell me about the times when it was enough to sit on the phone and imagine each other’s breath on our neck and not just over the receiver. Bring out this letter and tell me that I swore that when I had nothing to my name all those months in Africa, no food more than rice and no water more than cold, the only thing I craved was you. Don’t let me forget that.

And then, when I am back in your arms and your bed and your kitchen, singing my songs or making my claims, and you think I am being too much of a wild heart, letting too much emotion show or taking words to personally, I will remind you. Remind you that it was my passion that you loved so much that you decided to keep your heart with mine, even for that year I stayed in Africa. That you loved my attitude because it kept your mind guessing, even from thousands of miles away. And you loved that overzealous heart because you knew I could make a change.

Maybe we should tell others, too, maybe we owe that to them. For our sour faced friends with bitter words in their mouth intended for their lover. Or for the tired ones who have forgotten the luxury of a sleepy face in their bed each morning, or a warm body in their shower, or someone eating all of the cereal, squeezing the toothpaste from the middle and leaving hair in the drain and concern on your forehead and very permanent imprint on your soul.

This is what we should tell those who have forgotten: If you get to see him stretch in the morning. If you wake up with her hair in your beard. If you can hold her hands when she’s wrong or cover his mouth when he’s too loud or steal his fries or her keys or smell them on your sheets or couch or sweater: then you are a lucky one. Don’t forget that.


Author: Ella Kerr

Image: NataliaDrepina/DeviantArt

Editor: Emily Bartran

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