I wanted this day to be special for you. It’s our first Valentine’s Day together and I’m sorry I’m not there. I know you’ll say it’s just another day, and I can already picture the brave face you put on that might fool everyone else except me, but I know the hurt lives inside you, because it lives inside me too.
But this letter isn’t to talk about what hurts. It’s to remind you that I love you. To tell you I read somewhere that, “A man is not where he lives, but where he loves,” and I thought of you, and how much you’re always with me no matter where I am. Do you remember that time when your parents took us on holiday up to Broome? You were only fifteen and after swimming at Cable Beach, you got stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. I never forgot that. Seeing you in so much pain made me feel sick. Your mum called the ambulance and later told Jake and I that you’d passed out on the way to the hospital. You slept the entire next day away while your mum and dad stuck close, but Jake and I went back to the beach and dared each other to place one of the stingers on our skin. Stupid, huh? We did a lot of stupid shit when we were young. That ranked as one of the dumbest, but I remember just wanting to feel what you went through. After twenty minutes, nothing. We decided you were really just a big baby until ten minutes later and I thought my leg was on fire. After another minute, it felt like someone had taken a hammer to my head and I rolled over and puked in the sand dunes until I thought I’d die. And you say I’m the strongest person you’ve ever known. Well, we now know that’s a lie, right? It’s you. That was the day I recognised your ‘brave face’ for what it was. And that was the day your brother was a big asshole, because it wasn’t until he dragged me back to the holiday house that I realised he never did the dare.
I love that I can look back on days like that now and laugh rather than want to cry. After dosing up on painkillers, I sat with you all that afternoon while you slept. I never told you that. In fact, there’s so much I still am yet to tell you, but that particular day was special. That was the day I took hold of your hand and told you I loved you for the first time. I knew I shouldn’t have said anything because once the words were out, it was like I couldn’t ever take them back. At the time, I was thankful you were sleeping and didn’t hear them, but I want you to hear them now and always.
I love you, Fin.
I know you’ll be reading this when you wake up because I asked your mum to leave this letter on your pillow. I can only hope that Crookshanks doesn’t eat it because you need to know I left you a gift. What would be the best present for the biggest smartass alive? After thinking on it, I knew it was something you wouldn’t see coming, of course. So go get your present, baby. It’s out on the back deck. And don’t take too long. I miss you, and it’s cold out here while I wait for you to finish reading my letter.
All my love,