This month’s prompt was a beautiful gift — we had to write about travel. Travel! Me. The girl who has a map of the world tattooed on her foot (Fun fact, my other tattoo is of a tulip for my real one true love: Amsterdam). I was so excited. I also wanted to write a love story because — well — this is also me. The girl who loves romance. Once I’d decided on that, I let myself be extraordinarily self-indulgent and write about Harry and Louis, my OTP forever and ever. Enjoy xox
PS. Because I was procrastinating on other things i really needed to do more urgently than this, I of course wrote two other related scenes. They’re up on Archive of our Own, a lovely fan fiction forum that hosts some truly talented writers. Find them here: Love, H.
L — I saw this postcard and thought of you. Don’t know when you’ll get this but I think today (Aug. 23) is your first day of classes, right? Everyone will love you! Hope your dorm mate isn’t a wanker (pun intended, whaha!) — Love, H
L — I’m in Porto! You would love it here. There is magic in the very bones of this city. I stood atop the bridge one night with the should-be-tacky-but-aren’t lights from the port lodges on one side of the river and the rising castle on a hill that is this beautiful city on the other and all I could think of was that night. The one before I left. I miss you. — Love, H
L — I hope you’re happy, I’m trying email because of you. What will I do with all this space? I guess my postcards aren’t getting to you? Or you’re busy with classes? I managed to jump on Facebook at the hostel in Barcelona and saw this pic of you at the football game. You looked like you were having fun! I hope you are. Barcelona was sick. There’s this market on the main drag that sells cut up pineapple on the rind, with a little fork to eat it with. I took it to the beach, which butts right up against the loud, chaotic city blocks. The locals were walking the strip there, hawking “cerveza”s for a euro. I got one and it was disgusting and hot and the pineapple was sweet and sticky and the sand stuck into the little space between my toes and that night there was sand in my shitty little hostel bed. Because that’s Barcelona. I got up the next morning and climbed this mountain that has a ferris wheel at the top of it, right next to a church. I rode it by myself, and wished you were there to tease me about being scared. Like at the school carnival that one year. (In which I tossed my cookies when we got off.) — Love, H.
L — No, I totally get that. No pressure, mate. Just thought since it’s only a two-hour train ride, and you’re on break, you’d want to join for the weekend. But I get it. Exams seem tough. — H
L — I am writing to inform you that, no, I don’t actually love every single place I’ve been so far. I’m in this dark little restaurant in Prague that has free Wi-Fi — yay technology! — and I will tell you, the spark is just missing. The soulmate connection isn’t there. I know, I know. Everyone raves about it. This bloke on my train to Rome even told me to change my plans so I could stay here longer. But that deep knowing in the quiet place right above your heart? Well mine says Prague just ain’t my city. It has a river, and a city on a hill, and a kind of dark quaintness that is baked into every stone of its cobbled streets. But it’s not mine. You know? — Love, H.
L — That’s so great you finally made moves on that guy from your drama class. I’m proud of you for putting yourself out there. Wear your blue shirt on the date. It brings out your eyes. — H.
P.S. (With your black skinnies — your bum looks fantastic in them.)
L — OK BUT DN’T GO HOEM WIT H HIM OK?
L — Fuck, sorry for the email last night. We went to a club in Berlin that had wi-fi and I … just. Sorry. Sorry.
L — Did you know about Luxembourg? And that it’s not just a made up country? But also the most fairy-tale town you’ll ever see? Straight out of Grimm Brothers, but without all the murder and rape and fucked up evil hags. It’s soft. In my mind it’s all painted pink, even though it isn’t actually. I’ll remember it as being pink, though. Memories are weird like that aren’t they? Do you remember that night? It’s all gold to me, like champagne. Why do I remember in colors? Why are you always bright and shining in them? — Love, H.
L — Are you mad at me? — H
L — Ah, yeah I get it, term’s wrapping up. I miss talking to you every day, though. My mum thought I’d get lonely this year traveling by myself. But it’s not like that. You meet people. At hostels, at bars, in the street even. If I don’t want to be alone I don’t have to be. (Not like that, get your mind out of the gutter!) I am lonely for you though. I’ve never gone this long without talking to you. Hearing your voice. That first day we met? We were, god, like seven, right? And our mums sent us out to play and we found that tree? The big one with the carved up trunk? We added our initials then promised to be friends forever. Christ, we’d just met. I guess that’s what kids are like though? There’s none of that bullshit to get in the way. I found a tree like that. It was in the forest in a small town outside of Paris. There was an H and an L in the bark, right near its thick roots. I wanted to tell you immediately. But that was two weeks ago. Why didn’t I tell you? — Love, H
L – What do you mean, I’m not being fair? — H
L — You told me I should go??? You said I should fly like a birdie, spread my wings and see the world. Meet new people in new cities. Like I always said I wanted to.
L — I’m allowed to miss my best friend. I’m sorry that you don’t. — H
L — Probably the fact that you haven’t written in three weeks means I should leave you alone. But the thing is, I can’t.
I’m in Amsterdam. Did you know that? I’ve been trying to remember to post pics. Do you even check anymore? But, sorry, you’re right. That isn’t fair. I’ll get to that. Bear with me.
The thing is, I’m in Amsterdam and the thing is I’ve been thinking. A lot. Amsterdam is…well it’s a lot like you. Pretty. Soft. Friendly. High. Funny. (It is! You should see the coffeeshop puns!) A little sharp sometimes, when it has to be. But why Amsterdam is really like you is because it feels like home to me. There have been so many cities I’ve loved on this trip. But this one. Man. The particles of it slip into the nooks and crannies of my soul and expand into any dark and empty place that might have been there. Just like you.
I know it isn’t fair to tell you these things. Not when you have your new life, with your new friends, and your new future all mapped out, Mr. Drama Teacher. And I’m just…floating. But I’ve kind of stopped caring if it’s fair or not.
Remember that night? The night before I left. I always thought it was so obvious how much I loved you. It wasn’t like that at first, of course. But once the other boys started wanting to talk to girls, and all I ever wanted to do was talk to you, I realized. You were it for me. You always seemed to treat me like a younger brother, though. It drove me crazy. Until that night. You’d had too much of the wine that we’d snuck out to drink under the stars. Our way of saying goodbye. Your words were soft and wrapped like silk around me when you told me how much you’d miss me. When your lips drifted closer to mine. I could smell the lavender in your hair, the cherries on your tongue. But you didn’t close the distance between us. And I was too scared. Too freaking scared. So I left. Because I needed to. You know I needed to. It didn’t mean I was leaving you, L. It never meant that.
You have to know, you’re with me here. I see you all the time. In the swaying bodies in a Parisian club, in the stillness of the Portugal cliffs, in the bright blue water off the coast of Croatia. You’re with me.
I know you’ve been trying to push me away. I think you’re mad I left, and that’s OK. We were supposed to start uni together. We’d always said that. And then when the time came I just couldn’t make myself. I know you understand that. But I think you’re mad I left. Or sad. I thought you didn’t love me. I thought you telling me I should go was you saying you didn’t care enough to ask me to stay. I thought you ignoring my postcards and my emails meant you’d forgotten me. Replaced me. I thought this distance you’ve been allowing to grow between us was you telling me it was never going to happen.
But maybe it’s not? Maybe you’re protecting yourself, because you think all those same things about me? Maybe you’re as scared as I am, and maybe one of us actually has to be brave about this? I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy.
The thing is I’m in Amsterdam. I’m in Amsterdam, the most perfect city in the world, and all I can think about is you. I’m ready to come home, Louis. If you’ll have me. — Love always, H.
H — Come home to me, love. — L.