Love. It’s evaded me in the past, but I rest easy knowing I did all I could to protect it. I’ve made mistakes, one might say I’d even kill for love, but now I see why. Everything was leading up to the moment when I first saw you.
Your name? Valerie, but you go by Val. Your last name is Bodurtha, which is Welsh for “covered bridge.” It’s no “Guinevere Beck,” but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
It’s been three days since I spotted you at LAX waiting for a flight headed to New York. There was something about the way you hunched territorially over the outlets near your seat, something about the way you actually sprinted there and back when you wanted a Cinnabon to prevent anyone else from taking your spot. You don’t trust easily…but I can fix you.
By the time I booked my own ticket I had done the necessary research: You’re twenty three. You don’t have a boyfriend, it seems. That’s good. Otherwise things would have gotten messy like they have in the past. In fact it appears, looking at your social media, that few men have ever consented to be in a photo with you. One is with a cousin and the other is with an actor from Succession who clearly doesn’t know a photo is being taken. Pay your cousin and cousin Greg no mind. Soon we’ll be together.
For fun, you see your friends, go dancing, and post Game of Thrones theories that Reddit as a whole hates. I mean Jesus Christ, Gilly definitely isn’t the Night King, Valerie. Oh, and you love the gym. Walking around the gym, anyway. I trail you to Planet Fitness and watch you start with ten minutes of child’s pose, followed by a few laps around the cardio equipment (not on it, around it), before you try the weight rack. I’d be your spotter, Valerie, if only you’d spot me. You do look around eagerly in the hopes that one of the men around will notice and offer. None of them do. Maybe they’re on Reddit. Before I can reach you, you attempt a squat with fifty pounds on the rack. After I lift the bar off of you moments later, our eyes meet.
I hoped our first words to each other would be poetry, Valerie. I gazed at you and said, “Allow me to share this burden.” You were too out of breath to respond. You dry heaved a few times. Then you did child’s pose for another ten minutes and left.
You’re not going to make this easy for me, are you? I’m watching you right now in your apartment as you primp for your Saturday evening. I didn’t even know they made Spanx for your upper arms, that’s so…inventive of you. Are you thinking about me, the mystery man who saved your life earlier?
You and your friends go to a trendy bar in the East Village, and not the Taco Bell Cantina you had suggested to them in your group chat. After a few glasses of wine, you’re slurring. To the point where you need subtitles. You apologize to your friends, explaining that you skipped dinner. You could be honest with me, Valerie. You could tell me that you had actually already been to Taco Bell Cantina that night for dinner, twice. I’d support it.
On the dance floor, I watch as you dance how you think people dance when they don’t think anyone’s watching. It’s okay, we’ll take classes before our wedding. To be honest, you should probably take classes anyway. At the bar, I sense danger as a man gets just a little too close to you, elbows brushing. I step forward to intervene, but then I stop suddenly. What are you doing? Why are you talking about Gilly? Oh, now he’s moving away. Threat neutralized. By you. Wait, why are you following him? Now he’s leaving the bar. Him and all ten of his friends. Is there a chance I may have been a little hasty falling in love with you, Valerie?
No, I have to believe in fate. I love you, Val Bodurtha. To me, that name sounds like a song. And I’ll always be there watching over you. Moving your laundry back and forth from your bed to your chair as needed. Tweezing the moles on your lower back as you lie in child’s pose. And helping you stalk that actor from Succession you ran into. The best part is no one needs to get hurt this time, other men seem to overlook you for some reason. Never change, Val Bodurtha. Never change, my covered bridge.