To read the beginning of this chapter, please CLICK HERE.
I don’t know how to explain everything that’s inside of my heart right now; it’s breaking at the thought of never seeing you again. I’ll miss so many things about you, like your laugh, your smile, or how you look when you know you’ve done something awesome and you want me to notice.
I’ll miss your deep voice, and all the sweet things you used to say to me, once upon a time when I was your girl.
I feel bad that I never told you how very much you impacted my life and changed some of my views.
You see, you’re one of the most genuinely good people I’ve ever met in my life. To think of all the times you selflessly gave to me and my children... I remember when I told you that my ex-husband wasn’t able to spend much time with my kids because of his job. You rushed to your house, and showed up at mine with a faded book. “Can I give this to your son?” you’d asked.
“Sure,” I said. And even though you didn’t know it, I stood outside of the door, listening as you gave him the book.
“This book is for one of the most awesome boys in the universe!" you said. "I’ve had it for years, just waiting to give it to someone—then I met you and I knew this book was destined to be yours!”
My son squealed, so excited. And even after things weren’t perfect with us anymore, he kept that book on his dresser as a reminder that someone knew he was special—and that made him realize his potential too.
“How long have you had that book?” I asked you later.
“Six years,” you said. “I’d planned on giving it to my son someday. That’s why I gave it to your boy.”
I cried after you left because your words meant so much. You’d touched our hearts that night, in a way I’ll never be able to explain. You'd accepted everything about us, and loved us for it all.
I remember another time, I called you when my life had completely spiraled out of control. “My ex-boyfriend said the most terrible things about me. My kids aren’t home to distract me. I’m all alone and I feel worthless. I just don’t see the point,” I said. “I’m so sad today…I make everyone miserable just by being around.” I paused before deciding to tell him the truth. “Part of me just wishes I could stop breathing.”
“Gina! Don’t say that.”
“But it’s true!” I sobbed, desperate.
“Tell me everything. I want to hear all of it.” You kept me on the phone; I had no idea that you’d jumped into your truck, and been driving over to my house all the while.
“Get some cute clothes on—we’re going to coffee.”
But I wouldn’t get dressed, so you dragged me out of the house in my pajamas. I couldn’t bear to drink all of my coffee, but you didn’t judge me. Instead you drove around with me for hours. When my eyes were too tired to stay open, I fell asleep on your shoulder and woke up to you bringing me into the house and tucking me into my bed. You smoothed the hair from my face and told me the sweetest things until I fell asleep again. The next day, I opened my eyes and you were still there, dozing off, waiting to make sure that I was okay. And I truly was because you’d helped me through.
I’m not exactly sure what day or hour I fell in love with you, but I do remember the moonlight. I looked into your eyes and fell hard. And that love hasn’t been some whimsical romance, or a fleeting feeling, it’s the strongest kind of love, when you have a friend--a companion--an equal--who you’d do anything for and it would be worth any sacrifice. Someone who’s worth spending your life with, or giving your life for. I’ve never had someone treat me with such kindness. I’ve never had a man swoop into my life like this and revolutionize how my children feel about themselves and their worth.
I remember watching you do homework with my daughters, telling them to try again because they’d get it for sure the next time. “You’re so smart,” you told my oldest.
“Not everyone thinks so,” she said.
“Well, I can tell when people are intelligent and YOU definitely are.” You worked with her every night when you came over to visit us after work and her grades went up after that.
I’ll never forget when you held me for hours, both of us whispering our unending love, me thinking that was Heaven as your fingers traced my skin and I felt your breath on my neck.
But you already know all of these stories. And there are so many more… I just wanted you to know that every moment I spent with you mattered.
Knowing you has been life-changing. In the end we had different goals. I wished you’d meet a beautiful girl who could have your darling baby, and love, and everything you deserve. I’d smile, knowing what a good father you’d be. And Mark, even though I couldn't give you a biological child, I’d be so thankful you got your dream.
I guess I just want you to know that I’ll always appreciate what you did for me and my four children; I cherish those memories. And because of the impression you made on my life, I will never be the same.
I folded the paper up, stuck it in the mason jar, and watched as Mark finished the letter he’d just written for the time capsule as well.