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4/25/2012

For Antonio - My First Love Letter

I must have been 6 years old that summer before I enrolled in school. It was the very same year my parents had become the proud owners of a new house, and at the time, we were in the process of moving in. There was a lot of construction work going on in and around our freshly built suburbia, as well as other young families flooding the brand-new residential estates.

One day, as I was exploring the soon-to-be garden - at that point still only mounds of earth and small bushes - I spotted him, a construction worker two gardens down the lane, tirelessly carrying boxes out of a van and into a house. He must have been around 20 to 25 years old, with a mop of curly hair, and as far as I could see, the most dreamy brown eyes. His hair, and tone of skin added to the picture of the perfect Mediterranean prince. He was a little on the short side, but I didn't mind, because so was I, and I felt confident that we (meaning my 10 year older fantasy-self and him) would make an excellent couple.

I was impressed. He had strong arms, yet he wasn't too scary manly, more of a boyish nature. I hid behind the bushes and watched him for a while. Soon after, I asked my mother for any information she had on him. Antonio. That was all she knew about him. His name. My little heart melted. Antonio.



With time, my secret passion became less of a secret, as I confided in my mother about this interest I had in Antonio. I think I might have played it down a little, which must have been especially suspicious on my part. It always is.

I don't know how exactly it happened, but my mother and I quickly became companions in crime. At that point, I wanted to tell Antonio, how I felt, but of course, I needed a safe approach, in case he rejected me. In case. I wanted to write him a letter, but since I didn't know how to write, I convinced my Mum to do it for me. I honestly don't know why she supported this, I have to ask her one day.

Anyways, I dictated a lengthy letter verbalizing my admiration in detail and she wrote it down for me, without, of course, revealing who, and more importantly, how old I was. I signed it with my name though, and I at least wanted to add a personal touch by "sprucing" it, so I drew some stuff on it, after she was finished writing it. It never occurred to me, that drawings would very well give my age (or mental status) away, so I prettified it to my heart's content, with hearts, birds and flowers next to and around the title.
I seriously wanted to impress him with my artsy expertise!
For Antonio. That was the title, and that is all I remember of the exact wording.

I should have let it go then, but of course, I didn't. I was too involved and curious and I wanted to give the letter to my heart's desire, dearest Antonio. During his lunch break, I strolled around the neighbor's property, keeping a low profile, carrying the letter deep in my back pocket. I had folded it umpteen times, until nothing else showed except one thing, the title. For Antonio.

Over where he was working, there were knee-high wooden poles sticking out of the ground, and I put the letter up on one of the poles next to the walkway. And then I ran. I ran and hid in my usual hiding spot, behind the bushes. I didn't have to wait long.

There he came.
There he was picking up the shovel by the pole.
There he was, noticing something on the pole.
There he was, taking my letter, unfolding it.

At that moment it hit me. Cold fear creeping up my throat. Was I completely insane? I wanted to take back the words as he read them, but I couldn't. It was all there, in cold print. As I lay there motionless, in utter regret, I watched him read the letter, and I wanted to bolt. I was too afraid to think about love any longer, but I felt a sudden sickness coming from within my stomach.

So I ran into our house. I found my mother in the kitchen. I was sure he would be coming for me, sooner or later, wanting to confront the foolish little girl who had left her name in writing and blurted out love. I was sure, he would have a good laugh with his co-workers about some letter he got by this crazy person. I had never even thought about the aftermath of the reveal.

I then thought about denying everything. Her handwriting, my insanity, everything. I instructed my mother, to tell him, I wasn't there, just in case he came over. I stayed in my room the rest of the afternoon, and I cringed whenever I heard the door bell ring. He never came. Not this day, nor the next.


I didn't see him again, but I wonder if he kept the letter. I'd like to think he put it in a shoe box, on a par with other love letters he got over the years. It sure would be excellent company for hearts, birds and flowers.