Pip, I have known you for approximately six years. And forty seven days. And three and a half hours (at the time of writing this).
We met the day I met with my fate. My fate was you, of course. Didn’t you know?
We were both looking at the same teapot. It was yellow and had blue spots on and I remember thinking you had to be a certain kind of person with a certain kind of taste to like such a teapot because let me tell you, it was hideous.
But there was only one of them left and you said, ‘Oh, you have it.’
And I said, ‘Please, no, you have it.’ Because I didn’t even want it in the first place.
And you said, ‘Oh, no, I was only looking. You have it.’
And I said, ‘I wouldn’t be a gentleman if I took it when a young lady has her eye on it. It would be daylight robbery.’
And you snorted and said, ‘Well how about we halfsies it and then share it.’
‘What, like, monthly swaps?’ I asked, ‘or shall we cut it in half?’
‘Sure.’ You were nonchalant. Casual. You even shrugged and that is when I noticed the apple green jacket you are wearing. It was hideous also. (Please don’t hate me. We have discussed the ways colours are worn. And apple green blazers were out of the question. I even made a graph. Please see attached piece of paper for reference.)
‘Well,’ I said very carefully, ‘that then means, of course, that we shall have to swap details.’
‘Let’s buy this thing.’ You picked it up gently and as I reached into my pocket to take out my wallet my elbow jerked yours and it slipped out of your hands and fell down, down down onto the brightly polished John Lewis floors.
We both stared at it.
‘Ah well,’ you said, ‘I was only looking at it because I was curious about something so ugly. Good riddance, I say! I’m Pip. What’s your name?’
I stared at you in pleasant surprise and I felt my lips stretching out my face of their own accord.
‘James.’ I said, and then, ‘let us look for more ugly teapots.’
Of course we had to pay for that ugly yellow polka dot tea pot. It was atrocious. And then for your birthday present a year later I got you a similar teapot which you use for your indoor geraniums. It was from John Lewis and you killed yourself laughing at it and told me I was a money waster because there was no way you would use that for anybody. It could never grace your table.
I remember asking you all wounded, like, ‘What, not even for the reason that it was graced by my hands?’ I was also slightly flirting even though we were firm friends by then, but I could not resist. I can never resist you, Pip.
‘Nope.’ You were very firm.
I am writing to tell you that I want to marry you. I can’t say it to your face because you have beautiful eyes and I know exactly how they will look at me and I will not be able to help myself because I will kiss you and then I will be done for. I know you will be impatient with that and tell me that is nonsense and of course I can help myself but I will not want to. Help myself. At all.
Also I asked my aunt if she read those French books I gave her and she said yes, they were lovely books. You were right. She didn’t read them. Else she would have called me to lecture me horrendously about them. Lovely books indeed. She asks about you a lot and tells me I should marry you quicktimes before you grow too old to have kids.
So back to my fate. You are my fate either way. If you say yes then it will have been a good fate and if you say no I will be broken hearted forever and when I do eventually heal and marry somebody for realsies I will still remember you as the first ever woman who broke my heart.
You know love is a strange thing. So strange. I used to think I loved a woman before. I was seventeen. She wasn’t particularly beautiful but I was infatuated by her and loved her to pieces but she always treated me badly. And one day she went too far and I discovered she was sleeping with a right old tramp of a fellow, but I forgave her. Well I told her I did but I don’t think I really did. Something inside of me snapped that day. She walked on me one too many times. And three miserable months of forced smiles and fake kisses later I met you and the day afterwards she wanted to see me and I called her and I said, ‘I can’t. I can’t do this anymore.’
And when I was with her I thought there could never be anyone else because she was my first love. But it was meagre and ridiculous and pathetic and also desperate. Compared to what I feel about you. I am crazy about you. I look at you and I see my future. And I want to spend all my time with you and walk home from work with you and call you every single day but I stop myself because I don’t want you to get sick of me. I also want to kiss your forehead. It is so gentle and smooth and beautiful.
But see, if we were married I could call you everyday and it wouldn’t be weird, right? I could also kiss your forehead and it would be comfortable.
So, what do you say, Pip?
Yours sincerely and faithfully and truly (scrumptious),