A Love Letter
by Magdalena Ball

"I call upon these persons here present to witness...". The registry air thick with rose-scent; blurry sea of faces filling the chairs; heat swollen fingers; hope the ring goes on smoothly; vasoline in little silk bag just in case. A series of images, like professional photos, drop onto the cyprus pine floor boards. Arm wresting to break the ice; laughing blue eyes in the kitchen slicing onions; collecting cherry blossems in the snow at midnight; driving so fast on your motorcycle my skin pulled back; proposal over an omelette and bottle of Touraine wine in France; how we swore we would never be so silly...and romantic. And here we are...hot English summer with pink roses and white silk. Shy after a night apart. Young signatures on parchment; long kiss to seal the vow.

I pick up the photos and put them into the new album. Old one covered with mould. Ten years not bad for a silk book in this damp climate; lucky we used those edge triangles and paper between the sheets (your idea). Kids tucked into bed; you in front of the TV. Ten years of layers; our lives interlinked so much that anger at you is only anger at myself.

And I know now and felt then, that love is something you sense, and then build with time; a series of shared experiences; memories; understandings; pain; joy; your hand on my arm; coat on my shoulders; finishing my sentences. Something rare, precious and magic, but developed slowly, like the aged Touraine, bought solely to thank you for this day, and the permanent beauty of this life.

Maggie is Editor of The Compulsive Reader at http://www.compulsivereader.com/html, and is the author of two books, The Literary Lunch: Recipes for a Hungry Mind, and The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything. Her fiction, poetry, reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in a wide range of on-line and print publications. She is currently at work on her first novel. Contact Magdalena Ball.