We are celebrating F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday on the 24th of September.
But I’m not here to compile a list of my favorite quotes from The Great Gatsby or why Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors of all time. I’m here to say that despite Zelda’s struggles with mental health and Fitzgerald’s alcoholism, they both shared a love worth writing about.
Possessed with a strong passion to talk about relationships and what makes them great and unbreakable, I ran across the two lovers’ letters to each other and couldn’t help but become fascinated with the way they viewed love and relationships in general.
Since patience in relationships isn’t my strongest suit—I’m not talking about a wedding dress on a first date—and my lack of tolerance when life decides to go against me and my partner, I often sought to tame my mind and nerves so as not to become “too much.”
I practiced breathing before lashing out, distanced myself from people so I could clear my mind, and mostly opted for pep-talking myself and praying.
But what I really needed the most was the perspective of another person who struggled with patience as well, let alone the fact that this person is a literary legend, whose husband I admire to the bones.
Without further ado, this is the letter that Zelda wrote to Scott when they were struggling before being able to get married:
To Scott, March 1919
ALS, 11 pp.
Please, please don’t be so depressed. We’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever, and until we are, I am loving, loving every tiny minute of the day and night. Maybe you won’t understand this, but sometimes, when I miss you most, it’s hardest to write. And you always know when I make myself—just the ache of it all—and I can’t tell you. If we were together, you’d feel how strong it is. You’re so sweet when you’re melancholy. I love your sad tenderness when I’ve hurt you—that’s one of the reasons I could never be sorry for our quarrels, and they bothered you so. Those dear, dear little fusses, when I always tried so hard to make you kiss and forget.
Scott—there’s nothing in all the world I want but you and your precious love. All the material things are nothing. I’d just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence because you’d soon love me less and less, and I’d do anything—anything—to keep your heart for my own. I don’t want to live; I want to love first, and live incidentally. Why don’t you feel that I’m waiting? I’ll come to you, Lover, when you’re ready. Don’t…don’t ever think of the things you can’t give me. You’ve trusted me with the dearest heart of all, and it’s so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had.
How can you think deliberately of life without me? If you should die, O darling, darling Scot, it’d be like going blind. I know I would too. I’d have no purpose in life, just a pretty decoration. Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered, and I was delivered to you to be worn. I want you to wear me, like a watch-charm or a buttonhole bouquet to the world. And then, when we’re alone, I want to help, so you’d know that you can’t do anything without me.
All my heart—
I love you
In a relationship, we become one. Even if life tends to go against us sometimes, if we are one, then there is nothing that could keep us apart. We blend into one entity with one heart and one mind. Even the strongest winds cannot separate us.
Even during their time apart, Fitzgerald and Zelda loved each other unconditionally. They practiced patience and making each other stronger even with the physical distance.
And if they can do it, then why can’t we?