We all sat there on the grass. The sun was still out in its early September manner but was hidden behind a few clouds almost as if to spare us from the humidity we had already been experiencing all day. A hint of overcast and a dash of wind. We were next to the duck pond and listened to each other talk about the story we had just read for class. We all listened. Our professor, the geese, the passersby, and the trees all took in our words as if they were the nourishment that kept our bodies from dying. This was not an assignment, but instead a gathering which our professor had sincerely hoped we would all attend.
He sat with us in our circle and shared with us his wisdom of writing and what it means to be a writer. Not talking to us, but with us. He was human, as we all are, but more soul-bearing than some. Both of his arms told a story: one displayed an intricate black tattoo and the other, scars along his wrist. He didn’t seem to be afraid of them shown plainly, so I sat there and wasn’t afraid to think of him in the way I would if he didn’t have them. I wondered if all writers are truly tortured, that maybe they are, but in their own ways. I concluded that Ithaca would not begin the journey of my torture.
I had to know this was true, at least as true as it could be for now, because of moments like then by the pond. We all breathed the same clean air and felt the same soft grass and heard the same thoughtful words. The unity under the three ‘o clock sun made me feel a purpose. Isn’t that what love is?
If I wrote a letter to you, I would say that freshman year, I woke up to your college campus and your Cayuga Lake every morning. I fell asleep to your small city of lights and your black abyss that would occasionally reflect the stars every night. You were the first thing I wanted to see when I awoke, and the last thing I wanted to see when I fell asleep. You were always there. Even if you were cold, frigid, your temperatures weren’t low enough to freeze the fire inside me. This is when I first fell in love.
I know I’m in love because when I see you, my heartbeat increases just by the sight of you, near or far. It’s getting excited to see you again, even after I’ve seen you a million times. It’s wanting to wake up and fall asleep to you around me. It’s loving almost everything about you and hating some things about you. Learning to love the good more than to hate the bad. Because you will give me good and you will give me bad, I will look forward to the next day anyway because I can’t imagine it being any other way — without your three-syllable-name ringing in my head like Big Ben at noon.
You let an 18-wheeler take someone’s life, and I wish you wouldn’t have let that happen. Especially on your watch. I watched you and experienced life with you until that moment in a fantastical awe, thinking you were only capable of providing and encouraging fervor for life. But I know it was an accident. Your worst is not your fault, and your best is because you made it so.
You are everything.
Ith – a – ca.
I. love. you.