To Christopher, With Love

To Christopher, With Love

Love was, and still is, a beautiful thing...

Chapter 1

Whyteleaf Retirement Home

My fingers rhythmically tapped the glass underneath them as my boyfriend, Tyler, and I sat back to back. The fans rotating slowly above our heads did nothing to alleviate us of the heat. The colossal glass windows were left wide open, allowing the midday sun into the waiting room. A gentle breeze blew in, bathing us with its floral scents. The peace and serenity is my favorite part of these trips.

Every weekend, Tyler and I visit the retirement homes in our little town. We had become common faces at most of them, especially the Whyteleaf, where we spent most of our free time. We had grown particularly attached to Mrs. Phoebe Burns; the energetic seventy-year-old who always has amazing stories to tell.

A lady in blue overalls walked back into the room, wearing a smile on her face. I'd recognize that overly enthusiastic expression and curly brown hair anywhere. "Hello, you two. Mrs. Burns has been asking about you all day."

I got out of my seat, as did Tyler. "Life's been kind of hectic lately, Gladys," I said to her.

Gladys smiled, and then gave us a quick nod. "No need to explain yourself, Courtney," she smiled. "Mrs. Burns is in the garden, and I need to be checking the inventory now."

"Thanks, Gladys."

"Sure thing, honey," she smiled, walking past us.

I walked into the garden alongside Tyler, who had been awfully quiet for the past couple of days. It occurred to me that something had been bothering him, but every time I asked, he pushed me away. That was just how it was lately. As much as I hated to admit it, the two of us were drifting father and father apart.

A little old lady greeted each of us with a hug. Her fluffy grey hair tickled my chin as it slowly brushed against it. I stifled a giggle. Everyone knows that I’m ticklish. "Hello to you too, Phoebe."

"Sweetie, there's a diary on my dresser. Could you please get it for me?" she requested.

I nodded and made my way to her room. There were memorabilia everywhere; pictures of her and her late husband, her children, and even those of her back when she was my age. Phoebe was, and still is, beautiful. Even though the pictures were in black and white, you could easily tell that she had lovely blue eyes that were just bursting with life.

I stood there mesmerized by the photos for a while, until the door creaked open. Tyler stood there, leaning on the door frame, looking straight at me. Ignoring him, I stayed fixed in my position.

"What's taking you so long?" he asked. "All you had to do is get a diary."

I sighed out loud. His voice seemed so distant, so cold. I admit that he did not yell at me, but with the tone he was using, he might as well have. Looking back at him, I sighed again. What was happening to us?

"I was just on my way back, Tyler," I said to him.

He sighed in reply. Recently, that was all he ever did, sigh.

I made my way to the dresser where he now stood, waiting for me. Unlike the walls that were adorned with Phoebe's memories, the dresser was empty, except for a worn out diary. Tyler and I reached for it at the same time, bumping heads in the process.

"Sorry," he muttered, taking the diary from my hands. He flipped it open, letting a little piece of paper fly out.

I grabbed it and slowly ran my eyes through it. It was a poem; a love poem.

Love is a beautiful thing.
All seems dark until you find the one you love.
After just one touch, storms pass, birds sing,
And the world seems anew.
The sun shines brighter, and your hearts starts to cry.
It hurts, but in a good way,
Because all it wants is its loved one nearby.
That, my love, is how I feel about you.
With you, I feel rejoiced and protected,
Confident and strong.
No matter how far apart, and no matter how much they try to keep me from you,
Know that you are with me,
Always and forever in my heart.

To Christopher,
With love,

I looked at Tyler, who was looking at me. He wore the same expression I did. Both of us were intrigued by what we had just read.

My green eyes slowly moved to the diary he held in his hands, curiosity filling them as I re-read the poem in my mind. "What do you think is in that diary?"

He opened the book, revealing handwriting identical to the poem. "Why don’t we find out for ourselves?"

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