On this Valentine’s Day, I thought a few of you might like to re-visit the DIE FOR ME universe.
This is Charlotte’s Valentine’s letter to Ambrose. The one she wrote every year, but never showed him. And you all know how that ended up! (Some people totally deserve their happy endings.)
So here’s paean to unrequited love for your Valentine Day…
Charlotte’s Valentine Letter
Today is Valentine’s Day—le jour de la Saint-Valentin. The day of lovers. The only day of the year I can’t look you in the face. Because on this day, I can’t keep my mask from slipping just slightly, and I don’t want you to see what’s behind.
I have known you now for almost seven decades. Lived under the same roof as you for sixty-eight years. I know you as well as my own twin brother.
I know how you’ll react to any given situation. What you will say. How you will respond.
Which should mean that by now I should be totally bored of you. Your predictability should make me yawn. Seeing you in the same scenarios day after day, year after year, should make me roll my eyes. And yet, it doesn’t.
Instead, I find myself anticipating your reactions and congratulating myself on guessing them right every single time. When I hear your laughter ring through the house when you come home, I am unable to resist the smile it brings to my lips. I love you, Ambrose. Passionately. Irremediably. Hopelessly.
It wasn’t love at first sight. When Jean-Baptiste carried your body back from that Lorraine battlefield, I found you intriguing in your complete Americanness—your Yankee bravado. Your passion for jazz and film and dancing brought a welcome breath of life to our household of kindred. I liked you for all those things. Loved you as a brother.
Until I got to know you better. Your joie de vivre was infectious. It infected me. It made my heart swell with happiness—not only when I was with you, but when I learned to see the world through your eyes. You brought me joy, and I should be satisfied with that. But I’m not.
When Charles told you how I felt and you admitted to him that your sentiments weren’t the same, I spent the next decade hoping you would change your mind. Doing everything I could to make you see me in a different light: desirable, not little-sister-ish.
When that didn’t work, I spent the next ten years trying to be okay with my lot. To find someone else. But while you are here living with me, walking with me, joking your way through every meal, my heart can go nowhere else.
Now I’m resigned. As I do every year, I will finish this letter, feel a bit better for it, and then place it in the back of my journal. It will join the other forty-three letters to you. Forty-three declarations of love that you will never see.
On this Valentine’s Day I wish I could tell you that even though you don’t love me the way I love you, every day with you is a gift.
[If you want to read more excerpts, behind-the-scenes material, and deleted sections, download INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME.]