I understand it’s now Thursday and now Wednesday, but I figured a late #WritingWednesday is better than none at all. My mind’s been troubling me lately and yesterday, I wasn’t sound enough to do much. However, I am here and you are, indeed, getting your weekly dose of my writing! I wouldn’t deny you that for the world!
I don’t think I’ve posted anything since last week, so I hope everyone’s had a great holiday season so far. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever else your religion/culture holds for the winter, I hope it’s been lovely and you ate loads of food. It’s insane to think that 2017 is upon us! Just a few days away, and this dreadful year will be over, folks!
Right, back to the purpose of this post. This week, I’m sharing a little ditty I wrote for a writing competition on Wattpad. I took it down just because, but I had it saved in my laptop (thankfully!) and it’s called “Yours Sincerely, I Believe.” I titled it after one of my favorite Forever Ends Here songs — they’re an Aussie pop/rock band —and I thought it’d be a lovely title for a little writing excerpt.
Since the competition was for a fan fiction thing, I used of one the 5 Seconds of Summer boys in the story, but that shouldn’t take away from the tale I’ve written. I’m just gonna put my foot down and say that fan fiction shouldn’t be overlooked as “non-credible” because I’m met a handful of wonderful young writers who write 5SOS fan fiction.
Anywho, I’m gonna let you read. Hope you enjoy, and sorry this one’s a day late!
YOURS SINCERELY, I BELIEVE
Light, baby powder snow descends from the sky on this brisk February morning. A gust of wind whirls around, blowing soft, invisible air onto my face as I close the door behind me. The snow on the ground appears pristine; it has yet to be treaded upon because the storm escalated overnight while the city slept and stayed indoors.
Part of me wants to head back inside because I don’t want to mess up the snow, but I need to go. I have to see her. It is Valentine’s Day, after all, and it would be rude for me to ignore the love of my life on the most commercially romantic day of the year. It would just be flat out wrong if I don’t see her!
I gaze at the sky and sigh deeply while fixing the black beanie on my head. Somehow, it managed to cover every inch of the blond hair on my head even though I deliberately placed it on so my bangs would stick flat out from underneath. She loves it when I wear beanies because of that. I’m pretty sure she prefers my hair flattened down rather than in the quiff I always style it in. Whenever we go out, she always asks if I’m going to style my hair up instead of down, but I always indulge her and give in if we’re heading somewhere special. I think she finds it endearing that I wear my hair flat for her.
From my house, I take a left turn and start walking, placing my hands firmly in the pockets of my coat. Every tree that isn’t a conifer looks so morbid with their bare branches and transparent stalactites of ice hanging onto the thin wood. Even the neighborhood seems uncharacteristically grim despite the fluffy, white substance on the ground that attracts children like a lamp post to nighttime insects. Kids aren’t even in school due to Mother Nature taking its course last night; a good twelve inches and freezing temperatures sealed the deal and made every kid’s dream come true. Why is there such an ominous vibe in the air when it’s Valentine’s Day?
As I continue walking along the empty road, I can’t help feeling anxious about seeing her. It’s been a while and I know she’ll be happy to see me, but the butterflies in my stomach are only increasing. I’m that nervous to see her when I really shouldn’t. Deep breaths, Luke. Everything will be okay. Just keep walking and don’t think about it until you get there. You’ll be fine. Just calm down.
The wind howls and harshly nips at my face now, blowing the frozen, crystalline water into my eyes. I wipe the snow off of my face with my right elbow and keep walking, taking a right turn out of my neighborhood and into town. Now that I’m actually in town, I can sense the love in the air. Couples seem to have overtaken the town as they fill the sidewalks and stick together for warmth. I must look like such an idiot as I swiftly walk past couple after couple all by myself. One of the couples I passed by even looked at me with a heavy heart. It’s like they know…
I rush into Fiona’s Flora and give the tall brunette at the counter a small smile, which she returns with one of her own. I take off my beanie and anxiously run a hand through my hair as I approach the counter.
“Hi. I uh, I have an order of hippeastrums,” I softly mumble as I fidget with the bottom of my coat. “I’m Luke Hemmings.”
“I’ll be right back,” the girl responds before disappearing into the back room.
As I wait for the girl to fetch my flowers, a little ping! erupts. I hastily take my phone out and smile at the message my mom sent me.
Good luck today. We’re here if you need us.
It’s short and sweet, but it’s exactly what I need. The girl arrives back with my flowers, so I stuff my phone back into my jeans so she can ring me up and I can get the hell out of here. The building is nicely heated, but I don’t know how much longer I can wait to see her. The anticipation is literally killing me.
“Not to sound nosy or anything, but why hippeastrum??” the florist asks as I turn to leave. “Roses are the universal flower of love, especially red ones.”
I lightly chuckle, amused at her knowledge of flowers. The brunette crosses her arms and looks at me, intrigued at what I might have to say. She’s not wrong. Hippeastrums seem like a weird choice of flowers to get the love of your life on Valentine’s Day, but there’s a good reason why I went with those instead of roses.
“Hippeastrums are her favorite,” I explain with a shrug as I hold up the bouquet. “She’s not really a rose-type of girl. She thinks they’re too cliché or whatever, so I never get them for her. Have a nice day.”
The florist gives me a nod and quick smile as I turn around again to leave. Seconds later, my face meets cold air again. The winds have ceased, at least. It’s just snow gracefully falling to paint the perfect winter morning. I hug the hippeastrums close to my chest as I walk away from Fiona’s Flora and head towards my destination.
About ten blocks later, I’ve finally made it. I peer into the distance and watch my breath appear like a cloud of smoke as I exhale. I can’t feel my toes and my nose is probably red, but at least I’m here. I just can’t believe I’m going to see her.
The tall, metal gate creaks as I open it. The feel of the cool metal against my bare skin is spine tingling and forces me to shove the hand into my pocket for warmth. Snow loudly crunches with each step I take and birds whistle, their melodies increasing an octave the more I walk. I suddenly freeze upon seeing her and my eyes start welling up. Don’t cry, Luke. Stay strong. All you wanted was to see her, and now you can. She’s here. Go to her, Luke. GO!
I slowly inch closer to her with caution. She can’t see me, but I’m afraid the sound of my boots crunching on the snow might startle her. I try to approach her as quietly as I can so I don’t disturb her, but a loud cracking noise ruins my attempt at being surreptitious. I look down and groan at the branch I just stepped on and broke in half.
“Fucking branch,” I mutter under my breath.
A single tear trickles down my face when I’m finally next to her. My emotions overwhelm me as I lay down the bouquet. I kneels on the snow to touch the marble tombstone, leaning my head against the frigid rock while tracing the letters and number engraved on the slab.
Amaya Valerie Hemmings
December 16, 1997 – February 14, 2025
“Yours Sincerely, I Believe”
“Amaya it’s me,” I sniffle as I sit in front of her tombstone, staring at her name and mindlessly arranging the hydrangeas in a neat fashion. “It’s Luke. I-I miss you, babe. I really fucking miss you. I c-can’t believe it’s been an entire y-y-year since that stupid disease took you away from me. Why did you have to leave, Amaya? WHY DID YOU HAVE TO LOSE YOUR CANCER BATTLE?!?!!”
I bury my head into my knees and rock myself as I explode into tears, crying like a big baby. Amaya was essentially the love of my life and my rock. We’ve been through basically everything together. She picked me up during my lowest points and I can’t thank her enough for being such a positive light in my life. Amaya and I have known each other since we were about thirteen, and she became my high school sweetheart after I had the guts to ask her out for our sophomore homecoming.
We went to different universities, but we knew we had to stay in contact and not let the distance affect our relationship, so we wrote letters to each other. We always signed the letters with Yours Sincerely, I Believe because it was our little way of saying that we believed in each other and would support everything the other wanted to do in life. We were together for nearly nine years before I finally proposed to her. It was inevitable that she was the one. Every letter and every Yours Sincerely, I Believe we wrote only made my love for Amaya grow deeper. It was only a week into our marriage that we noticed something wrong with Amaya. Neither of us expected it to be cancer, and neither of predicted that it would be her demise.
The day Amaya died, I had something special planned for her. Even though she was hospitalized at the time, I knew I had to do something to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I wanted to treat my wife like a queen so she would forget about being a terminally ill cancer patient for a few hours. I went into her room with a beautiful vase of hippeastrum and peonies and her favorite film, Titanic. I also managed to sneak in some takeaway even though her doctor would have disapproved, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to make Amaya happy and feel normal. She was completely over the moon at my gesture and there was life in her gorgeous, hazel eyes when I showed her the Titanic VHS. I’ll confess that I didn’t watch the movie. I was too enamored by the beautiful brunette beside me crying her eyes out at the film.
When the film got to the part where Jack was about to die, Amaya looked at me. She squeezed my hand tightly and gave me one of her breathtaking smiles before telling me that she was about to leave me. I remember looking back at her, confused and horrified as I shook my head and pleaded with my eyes that she wasn’t serious. Amaya caressed my right cheek as tears flooded down my face and she told me that it was going to be okay because she wouldn’t be hurting anymore. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe that she would leave me so suddenly, especially on Valentine’s Day. The last thing she said to me before her eyes shut and she started her peaceful, eternal slumber was “I love you, Luke Hemmings. Yours sincerely, I believe.“
Once I’ve composed myself and halted my tears, I slide the strap of my messenger back off of my shoulders and start rummaging through it. I’m no longer sniffling from the cold air, nor do my feet feel like they’re going to freeze off anymore. My emotions completely surpass the weather, consuming every fiber of my being as I try to not shed a single tear when a small stack of stationery papers is in hand. Of course it’s not a lash in my eye or a bit of snow that’s causing it to water.
“Hey, Amaya? I-I brought a few of our letters with me,” I say as I wipe the tear away. “I thought I’d read them to you for old time’s sake. At your funeral, I promised that I wouldn’t let my memories of you die away. I had to do something to cope, s-so I got rid of your stuff. Mom encouraged me to sell them off or give them away because she knew I’d go crazy if I had to look at them all the time. It was really hard to do because I thought getting rid of your stuff equated to getting rid of you. Fuck, Amaya! I never want to get rid of you! I want you to be here with me so we can spend Valentine’s Day together like a normal married couple, but that’s not possible. I may have gotten rid of your stuff, but won’t ever get rid of all the memories we’ve shared. I thought about burning these letters after I found them, but I decided to keep them so I could at least see your handwriting and remind myself that you’ll always be with me in spirit. Every time I see the words Yours Sincerely, I Believe, I feel like I have something worth living for. I have to keep living for you, Amaya.”
I turn my attention from the marble to the papers in my hands. I take long, deep breaths as I look at the ink on the first sheet of paper; the chicken scratch on that one is in my handwriting. I’ve put the letters in chronological order for my benefit. It’s much easier to read through them if they’re in order because literally nothing would make sense if I had missed one or whatever. I glance back at the marble tombstone and scan her name, taking it in like it was the most beautiful name I’ve ever heard. I exhale again and watch my visible breath take on faux smoke. I bit down on my lip and run a hand behind my neck before placing the papers on my lap.
“I’m gonna read you our letters now, Amaya,” I inform her. “They’re in chronological order. I hope you get a kick out of hearing them Up There, babe.”
I clear my throat and look up at the sky. A gorgeous, light blue color paints the canvas as white clouds decorate the picture. Miniscule specks of snow complete the image, creating a delicate winter with the softest hues of blue and white. She’s up there, Luke. Amaya’s smiling down at you and waiting for you to read those letters.
“Dear Amaya,” I start reading, my voice slightly hoarse from the cold I’ve had this past week. “It’s been a month since college has separated us. My roommate, Chase, is a pretty cool guy. He’s on the basketball team and he’s studying business. He thinks I should test the waters while I’m here because of the way girls have been looking t me, but of course I’m not gonna do that when I have you. You’re all I need, Amaya. Chase told me that I was being a pussy about things until he your picture. He thinks you’re hot, by the way, and now he understands. Not much has happened except for tons of coursework, which I expected as a sound engineering major. I’m sorry if this letter is super lame. I’ll probably have better stories for you once the semester gets rolling and Chase forces me to go to parties with him (I’m sure there’s going to be tons of those in my near future). I can’t wait to hear from you and see what you’ve been up to. Yours Sincerely, I Believe.”
I chuckle at how lame that letter was. I wrote it on a whim before cracking down on some homework one night and that was the best I could think of. Go me! That was such a long time ago…we were merely babies at 18. The wind flutters the papers as I put my first letter at the bottom of the stack. I smile small at Amaya’s small, neat handwriting. It should seriously be a font of its own because it’s so legible, unique, and neat. Water starts forming in my ducts and I choke as I lift her letter up to my face. I glance at Amaya’s name on the marble again, sending my heart aflutter, before diving into the first letter she wrote to me.
“Dear Luke, Chase sounds like an asshole, but least he’s nice. I’m glad you’re settling into college life and haven’t forgotten about me yet. I’d probably have to drive over there and give you a good scolding if you did happen to hit on one of those girls. Chase is just trying to tempt you into being a normal guy. It’s understandable. Just don’t fall for his tricks, okay? So far, I’ve had a good month. It’s so weird not having you around all the time. I feel like part of me is missing because you’re not physically with me. My roommate thinks you’re hot, too, so we’re pretty even with the whole roommate thing. Kara is an interesting individual. Ironically, she’s a cheerleader. Out of all the types of people at our schools, how did both manage to nab sporty roommates? Kara has dragged me to a few frat parties because her brother’s in one and let’s just say that everywhere I went, I felt violated by the way people looked at me. You don’t even look at me the same way they did, Luke! It was fucking frightening! I’ve had a few drinks, but I never got completely plastered because who knows what the fuck would have happened if I had. Besides, you know I’d never do that to you, Lukey. I’m all yours. I can’t wait to hear more about your life. I’ll write to you soon, my love. Yours Sincerely, I Believe.”
The more letters I read, the longer and detailed they become. I genuinely feel like I’m back at college writing and reading those letters in the comfort of my dorm room rather than being sat in front of her grave on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t feel like Amaya’s dead. It feels like she’s miles away in a different city to earn her journalism degree, not lying beneath me in a wooden coffin with dirt and snow piled on top.
My emotions have complete control over me, turning me into a blubbering mess as I dive deeper into our story. Some of it makes me chuckle because we’ve both mentioned funny things, while others put a small smile on my face or make me cringe. College was a difficult chapter for us, but we survived and got through it together because of our letters. They were the highlight of my college career because they made me feel closer to Amaya. Reading them back is making me realize how lucky I was to have her. She chose me, Luke Hemmings, out of all the guys in the world. She was way too good for me, and definitely out of my league with her mesmerizing hazel eyes, captivating smile, and the positive aura that shone from her wherever she walked. For twelve years, she brightened my days and became the most positive aspect of my life. Amaya was mine and nobody else’s.
I didn’t realize how quickly time passed by as I continued to read the letters. Time didn’t matter to me as I read to Amaya’s grave. I wanted to spend today with the love of my life, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m entertaining her by reminiscing about our past. I swear I’m not crazy. I just can’t let her go…not yet.
When I reach the last letter, my mood falters. I look at the white marble in front of me and catch my reflection as the midday’s rays dimly shine from above. The man staring back at me isn’t the same Luke Hemmings that he was a year ago. There’s the same blue eyes and blond hair, but he isn’t carrying himself the same way that he used to when Amaya was around. The man reflecting off of the marble is rugged and worn out. He looks fucking exhausted because of all the tears he’s shed. But this is the same, happy-go-lucky Luke. I just have to dig into myself and relinquish my former self so I’m not mourning over my dead wife 24/7.
“Amaya, this is the last one,” I voice as I hold the last letter to the sky for her to see. “This is the last letter before we both graduated. I-I don’t know if I should read it. I feel like I should to finish the story, but I feel like it’ll hurt too much because you wrote it. What do I do?”
It’s silly to ask a dead person what I should do, but maybe she’ll give me a sign. I sigh deeply and look at the sky. Nothing. I look at the hippeastrums and notice that the wind has blown some of the petals off of a few of the flowers. My eyes wander around the graveyard until I’m back at the marble. Yours Sincerely, I Believe.
I stuff all of the letters back into the bag except for the last one. I stare blankly at it for a few seconds and tug my beanie over my ears so the wind doesn’t nip at them. I quickly glance at those words on the slab of rock before making my decision.
“Dear Luke,” I finally read, scrunching my nose up like a rabbit’s as a sneeze comes on. “The wait is finally over. Next weekend, we’ll finally be reunited. Nothing will tear us apart after graduation. I can’t wait to wrap my arms around you and give you the biggest hug the longest kiss ever! I’ll never let you go, Luke. Not anymore. After graduation, it’ll be the two of us against the world. Together, we can pursue our dreams and put our stamp in society. Look how far we’ve come, Luke! I’m seriously welling up just thinking about being able to gaze into those beautiful, crystal blue eyes of yours again. I’m so excited to start the next chapter of our lives! I can’t wait for us to get married (no pressure…doesn’t have to be super soon) and start our own little family. Things are definitely looking up, Luke. I’m getting all giddy just imaging how amazing our life will be. My future is going to be amazing because you’ll be in it. You’re all I’ve ever wanted, and you’re all I need, Luke. Prepare for me to tackle you once you’re in sight. I love you so much!! Yours Sincerely, I Believe.“
As I gently place the stationery into the messenger bag, my eyes remain locked on those four words on her tombstone. Without blinking or moving an inch, the bag’s strap is firmly placed back around my shoulders. I stifle my tears as I rise from my seat; my ass is freezing and wet from the snow. Now that I’m standing, I feel like I’m towering over Amaya with my 6’1″ stature. I rearrange the hippeastrums, placing them neatly along her grave, and hug the marble as tears stream down my face. I trace my fingers over her name again, digging into the marble with the lightest touch. Once I’m finished, I stand up and walk a few steps away, only to halt in my tracks to turn back and look at her again.
“I love you Amaya,” I breathe as I look at her grave one last time, admiring the way the sun shines above her like a beacon of hope telling me that she’s still with me. “Yours Sincerely, I Believe.“