A letter to Lauren Smith Cochran from Caleb Cochran
To my wife on our first anniversary,
You probably know that I don’t write many letters and you’re probably wondering why I’m writing one now. It’s pretty simple. It’s our one year anniversary and after this morning, I feel the need to do this. I want to put into words how I feel. It’s hard to know where to start. You know I love you and I know you love me, but it’s deeper than that. Love doesn’t seem to be a big enough word to describe how I feel about you, so that’s why I have to write a whole letter. I want you to hold my words while you read them and to be able to keep them and read them again and again. I want you to read them to me on our fiftieth anniversary.
That first day, when I saw you standing in your kitchen, I felt like I got stabbed in the heart. You see, before that second, my life was pretty stable. I was getting along from day to day. I had survived my demons and laid them to rest. I had family. I had friends. I had responsibilities that kept me busy and kept me from focusing on myself. A business to run. Customers and employees who depended on me. The fire department. I spent my days going from the shop to the job sites to the meetings to fires and fairs. At night I just went to bed. The next morning it would start over. It was a routine and it filled my days.
Then, when I met you, with your beautiful hair and your pretty eyes, I realized there was more to fill than just days. There was me. I loved you from the first minute I saw you, Lauren. From that day on, it was like I had waked up from some kind of drugged daze. I saw in that minute how much I needed somebody and how that somebody had to be you. My first reaction was not to take the risk. Just bury the feeling so deep that I’d never be aware of it again, but then you touched me. Physically touched me. Remember? In the cellar, when I burned my arm? I wanted to kiss you right then and there. I could have done more than that! All that time it took for us to get together, I was scared. I was scared when you went back to the city. I was scared of falling back into that black hole of a daze where I had been for years. When it seemed I had lost you for good I thought, at least I had true love once and I know how it feels. I would just live on that memory. I felt fortunate, even after I thought I would never see you again. With you, I had experienced what most people never get a chance to.
I know I’m rambling right now. I tend to do that when I can’t find the words. And that’s it. I can’t find the words to tell you how much I love you. I’ve been thinking about you all morning. When I passed MacTavish’s, I thought about our dinner there, and the time I saw you with Joan’s nephew. When I passed my old house, I thought about that night your car gave out and you knocked on my door. And when I drove past the firehouse, I thought about how close I came to really losing you. Finally I had to just sit down and write this letter. I did buy you a present. I thought it was pretty special when I got it, but it’s nothing now, compared to the news you gave me this morning when I came down for coffee. When you said you were pregnant, I thought my heart was going to burst because I didn’t know how it was going to hold all the love I have for you and for our baby. A new person! A new person is coming because of our love for eachother. It’s unbelievable. I never thought this would happen to me, but until we got together, I didn’t know what real love was. I love you, Lauren. I always will. Happy anniversary to you, my wife. You are my greatest strength and comfort, every day.
*passes out hankies* I know gurlz…you’re all feeling misty and emo right now. Me too. Caleb is such a great guy, and he’s steamy hawt as well.
Small Town Girl was one of my Top 10 best for 2011. If you haven’t read it yet…O. My. You need to.
Thanks to Linda Cunningham for sharing Caleb and his letter with us. Can’t wait for her next book!