Every once in a while, a charmed romantic writes a love note on the internet that wows us with its lack of netspeak. This Craigslist missed connection from a Vietnam war veteran will raise the bar and will leave you speechless. Written earnestly, from the contemplative mind of a seasoned man, we catch a glimpse of a re-routed lifeline in this dedication to the woman held responsible.
Forty-three years ago, a Vietnam veteran hit the streets of Boston to say goodbye. After a tumultuous run in his honorable call of duty, the veteran had planned to take his life. That is, until he met a mysterious woman who changed the way he regarded his fate. When she disappeared without leaving so much as her last name or phone number, the veteran had no way of contacting her.
This obstacle didn't dull the potency of their connection, however. All these years later and a full life lived in between, with the help of a Gen Y-er who suggested the internet, the veteran took to Craigslist to find the woman and thank her for her honorable duty. Grab a few tissues and be prepared to reconsider the way you think about missed connections. They're not all drunk creeps from the bar or lonely predators from the Whole Foods check out line. Some of our favorite highlights below:
We sat at the counter of that five and dime and talked like old friends. We laughed as easily as we lamented, and you confessed over pecan pie that you were engaged to a man you didn't love, a banker from some line of Boston nobility. A Cabot, or maybe a Chaffee. Either way, his parents were hosting a soirée to ring in the New Year, hence the dress.
For my part, I shared more of myself than I could have imagined possible at that time. I didn't mention Vietnam, but I got the sense that you could see there was a war waging inside me. Still, your eyes offered no pity, and I loved you for it.
And just when you think that he might be looking for more — be it companionship, hope, re-routing — he continues to show his humility.
You see, in these intervening forty-two years I've lived a good life. I've loved a good woman. I've raised a good man. I've seen the world. And I've forgiven myself. And you were the source of all of it. You breathed your spirit into my lungs one rainy afternoon, and you can't possibly imagine my gratitude.
I have hard days, too. My wife passed four years ago. My son, the year after. I cry a lot. Sometimes from the loneliness, sometimes I don't know why. Sometimes I can still smell the smoke over Hanoi. And then, a few dozen times a year, I'll receive a gift. The sky will glower, and the clouds will hide the sun, and the rain will begin to fall. And I'll remember.
So wherever you've been, wherever you are, and wherever you're going, know this: you're with me still.
With the exception of a few inspired MFA graduates, our generations doesn't really do love notes. We text all day. And when we have too much to say for a text, we email. And that's really the closest thing we have to a love note. But it's not because we're not romantic. It's because we're constantly connected to the people in our lives. In generations prior, instant communication was not available. Romantic dialogue over a distance was sparse, in comparison. Because of that, shared words held more value.
A hand-written love letter is not written with the same ease and casual nature as an email. A love letter is the result of a collection of thoughts that have marinated and manifested themselves into a message. And a love letter doesn't get buried in an over-active mailbox. It gets read and reread, and folded and read again. The time and thought and heart and profundity lent to this war veteran's letter is something our generation is only accustomed to witnessing in a romance novel.