Today I received a letter from Diane and Jack, Jackson’s parents. I was kind of surprised to see a letter come from them, since after Jackson’s death we kind of distanced from one another. It came in this massively wadded envelope. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it contained a letter from Jackson, right around the time of our first anniversary. Of course, there was also a letter from his parents:
We found this folded and in an envelope when we were going through JJ’s stuff at Brent’s house. We have had it for a few months, but after much consideration, we decided to give it to you since it was meant for you.
Diane and Jack
I was totally curious to see what this wad of paper was inside this envelope with my name on it. It had Jackson’s writing on it, and I was instantly compelled to touch the writing and laugh at his messy handwriting, which meant he was in a hurry because his writing was normally neater. I thought about opening it right then and there, but I decided to run my errands and read it when I got back and could focus completely on it.
Naturally, I ran through my errands, and returned to the house we used to share. I changed into my pj’s, and lit a fire in the fireplace (yes Jackson, I finally figured out to work everything). I grabbed that envelope, and plopped down on the floor. I hesitantly pulled back the flap, and pulled out this beautifully wrapped paper with a red wax seal on the edges. I gently broke the seal, and unfolded the paper.
March 25, 2007
My Dearest Ava,
Today is the day we began dating, for real. And instead of getting you some cheesy red roses and a gift that I thought long and hard about getting that you’d love, I decided to do something you would cherish even more: I am writing you a letter.
Meeting you that dreary March 22 was something I never intended to happen. I just expected to see The Libertine, and maybe go grab a coffee afterward. But as I walked across the street to the theater, I saw you climbing haphazardly out of that Volvo, trying to open your umbrella and I could swear the Earth shifted. In that moment, I prayed you were going to see a movie. I pulled open my own umbrella; which was lost cause, since I was already drenched and secretly watched you walk to the ticket counter and ask to see The Libertine. After you had gone inside, I bought my ticket. I ducked into the restroom to fix myself up, only to find I looked like shit, and decided to just dry myself slightly hoping it would get your attention. And then Kellan called. I popped out of the bathroom, and you had gone inside the cinema. I casually strolled down the aisle, carefully peering out of the corner of my eye to find you. I walked right past you, and stopped 3 rows in front of you, trying to find you. I spun around, and there you were; completely alone and securing your purse. I told Kellan I’d call him back later, and strolled to your row. You were absentmindedly sipping your blue-raspberry ICEE, and when you saw my shadow, your head turned slowly in my direction.
I casually asked if the seat next to you was taken, and you shook your head ‘no.’ and then you whipped your coat off the seat, and smiled. I sat down in the seat next to where your jacket was. You didn’t seem annoyed, so I faced the screen. I heard the candy box tear, and the annoying scraping of the bag trying to open. I thought I would be chivalrous and help you open the bag. You looked like you wanted to send a wrath my direction. I smiled cockily when I handed the open bag back to you, which got you all riled up. The next couple of minutes you spent trying to peg me down as a serial rapist. You smiled, which made me smile after you apologized, and then the movie started.
You were so beautiful. And I knew I had to ask you out after the film.
And I did. And you accepted. We drank coffee, discussed our passions, and talked about the goddamn rain. After the rain stopped, we walked around for a bit. By then, the sky had gone dark for night. I walked you back to your little black Volvo, and thought about making my move. I looked at you watching my hair blow in the wind, and decided this was the moment. I made some reference to exchanging numbers, which you agreed to so enthusiastically. And just as your face straightened, I moved in. You leaned back against that car, and the wind blew a piece of your hair onto your face, and I brushed it away. I watched your eyes close in response. I moistened my heavily-chapsticked lips, and kissed you. It was like kissing an angel. A million thoughts entered my mind; most of them dirty, but you know me well enough to know that was exactly what was going on in my head. I left you that night, totally amped to ask you out again.
I am a loser boyfriend. I changed my mind at the last minute, and bought you cheesy red roses and took you to Maine for the weekend. You didn’t care that it wasn’t traditional, which made me fall in love with you even more.
Do you remember last Fourth of July? That was some time, wasn’t it? I had been bugging you for some time to have sex, but you weren’t ready. Despite the fact you and I had not many secrets, we never discussed our “experience.” You were still a virgin, and it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to stop being so pushy. But that night, we sat on the grass watching the fireworks, and you changed your tune. You were so beautiful when we got back to your apartment, and so nervous. I talked to you about not needing to rush if you weren’t ready. You told me otherwise. You were so unkind about how your body looked, believing you were fat—you weren’t. You were and are, absolutely stunning. I apologize if you thought I was staring out of disgust.--I was captivated by the beauty of your body. And that night went well—for both of us.
It’s your birthday today, baby. 24 years young. And just as beautiful as the day I met you. You never believe me when I say that, but I mean every word. I got lazy again, and didn’t finish this letter. Maybe you’ll get it by our next anniversary. I bought you Entourage, since I know how much you love Adrian Grenier’s eyes. I am not jealous, since you know how much I love Rachel McAdams.
We just got back from Cape Cod. You’ve just stepped out to buy some Chubby Hubby ice cream, so I don’t have much time. This is your birthday present—I swear. Taking the photos at Kellan and Madelyn’s wedding made me think about some things—and I think I may make this permanent, you & I. Maybe I will do it like Edward, in the bedroom. Or I just might drag you down the Cape again and do it there. I realized this weekend baby that you are The One. I have never loved anyone the way I love you, and to hell with what my dad thinks. He’s a big jerk. I know what I feel, and I know it’s right. There is no one else for me.
I think I hear you coming.
September 2, 2008
I am sorry for being a jerk yesterday. I love you.
You’re a liar. I come home from a hard day shooting photos to you in clothing. Where was the see-through baby doll? Thank you for the gift, and there is no one else I would rather walk through snow with.
And that was where the letter ended. There was another piece of paper tucked inside.
October 27, 2008
My Dearest Celine,
Words cannot express how much pain I feel right now. I acted like a huge jerk, and I cannot find a way to apologize. My dad admitted to what he did, and I wanted to rip his heart out of his chest like in Indiana Jones. There are no words to express how upset I am. Despite my depression, I am still taking some stuff out of the apartment, so we can have some time to cool down. Hearing you cry was the most painful thing I ever heard. I love you baby, I really do.
My heart broke again. I will never understand why Jack took the furniture if he only intended to take some clothes for a short break. Whatever his reasons, I will never know.
There was a smaller lump in the envelope, so I pulled it out. It was a small notebook. December 25, 2006—our first Christmas.
December 25, 2006
Celine is in the other room. Today has been an awesome day. For about ten minutes I watched as she slowly awoke, her eyes blinking erratically. Her smile is beautiful to me. She was not happy with me when I told her that my shower was more important than opening gifts. She doesn’t think I know she snuck out of the bedroom this morning while I was in the shower. She was crafty enough to quickly slink back in when I shut off the water. I could tell from her face that she had been up to something. We have only been dating 9 months, but I can tell most of her facial expressions. Exchanging gifts was a great time. I only have a short time, since she is getting ready before we go to Serena’s. But I think I am ready to take her home to the family.
Let’s just hope Dad doesn’t make an ass of himself like he did with the other girls I brought home.
Celine is ready to go.
I’m not going to lie, I cried like a bitch. His letter was haphazard, because he kept putting things off. Despite the haphazard letter with the broken red seal, the letter he intended to probably leave in the mailbox, and his little journal; I was very happy. It somewhat felt like the closure I was in desperate need of. It has been six months since he has died, and the once large void in my heart has closed up for the most part. Some part of me will always belong to him, but my life is finally moving forward.
I posted my words to Jackson on a blog, and the readers have been eager to hear what I have been doing for the last six months. And for those awesomely supportive people, I will tell you.
- November was full of blatant sobbing at the drop of a hat. I went to a concert with some friends, and had the time of my life. For about six hours, I forgot about Jackson’s death. Incidentally, I also got drunk (which I never do) and slept with one of the musicians. Thanksgiving was difficult, since the two of us always had it together.
- December was a disaster, since it was Christmas and it was another thing we usually celebrated alone or with close friends. I begrudgingly went to my parent’s, and was miserable because they were all so happy.
- It was much the same in January and February.
- Our anniversary was hard. I spent the day at home, watching home videos and looking at pictures.
- In April, I met the most wonderful man. He was a fleeting fling, but it was fun while it lasted. And he was very understanding about my loss, unlike some other men I had met.
And that brings us to the present. I have met a guy, and right now it is too early to tell where it’s going, I am optimistic.
For the longest time, the moving on was difficult. It felt like ripping a pointy poisoned arrow through my heart. But with the help of our close friends, I am making progress. I am sure that Jackson is proud to see me happy once again, and able to turn on the heater in the winter (with Kellan’s help).