If you haven't read it yet, here are the other installments:
I emailed Benjamin that night. I got a surge of excitement when I typed his email address into the address box and then again when I wrote ‘Hi, it’s Anna’ in the subject box. And then again when I started the email with ‘Dear Benjamin.’ The best bit was that I didn’t even hesitate to write ‘dear’ instead of something like ‘hi.’ Then I told him about Miley and what had happened today and about how Gayl still seemed to be so upset about her break-up. I wrote till the clock struck midnight and then sent off a 4000-word email. Signed off with, ‘lots of love, Anna.’
The next morning, somehow, he had managed to write an equally lengthy reply. I was completely distracted from work, of course.
We emailed each other twice, three times, a day – long novels of emails. We exchanged ideas, deep questions, stupid details and concerns about friends, politics and other silly things. We told each other random childhood stories and shared our favourite Youtube videos with each other on Google+. We sent each other links of articles on Bible passages that we liked and Benjamin got an Instagram account just so he could follow me and comment on my pictures. He went back and commented on every single picture I’d ever posted. I went to bed way to late laughing and replying to all of them.
Before I knew it I was in love with Benjamin Raines. Nerdy glasses and all.
I wrote it on the wall. Only not that bluntly. I wrote: “Apparently this wall has set two people up.”
After a few hours, I got a series of text messages from Benjamin.
Don’t you go and write about us on the wall.
Actually I don’t mind.
We owe that wall something, don’t we.
I replied back.
You forgot the question mark. Hipster.
You should have seen the eye-roll I just did. It was huge.
I couldn’t stop talking about Benjamin with my parents and with Gayl. Part of me felt bad for Gayl’s sake to be so gushy about a boy when she was still so upset about Tim but Gayl insisted and said, ‘NO ANNA I DON’T MIND’ which was very nice of her, but still. I felt bad for her. She seemed to have lost all lust for life. Her smiles were kind of fake and she never texted me with spur-on-the-moment decisions, like she used to do. Why, I hadn’t even seen her wear heels and sequins and she used to do that like, every evening. Her Instagram account was ignored and she was buried with Biology exams. She was always behind on schoolwork and always seemed so weary.
I told Gayl about Miley and about how she was so upset. Sometimes it helps for a mourning person to talk about other mourning people. Like, you’re upset, let’s talk about other upset people. That’ll cheer you up. It doesn’t make sense, but it works sometimes.
Gayl was very touched with Miley’s story. “Blimey,” she said. “That’s terribly sad.”
Stories that end with kisses are usually sappy ones; no doubt, often very stupid. However, Benjamin and my first kiss somehow seems to be a very appropriate way to end this tale. It ends on a happy note – like adding a little pinch of chocolate flavour to a vanilla cake – and it wraps up the relationship we had growing throughout the months in a great stamp of official-ness. It was a great kiss; I could honestly spend three pages on metaphors to describe it. Sweet, like the kiss of a violet. Surprising, like burst and bubbles of red fireworks. Delicious… like chocolate. Only, of course, with a flavour of love; spicy, hot and delicious.
We met up at the wall that evening.
It was Christmas Eve, and Henffordd village had never looked more quaint and darling under the silver December stars. They winked at the electric strings of lights strung over the narrow roads between the houses, and the electric light winked back. Michael Bublé’s Christmas Album made its way from the pubs to the freezing outside cold, tempting passers-by to order hot chocolate and rum punch. The air smelt of gingerbread and turkey stuffing and pine cones and excitement.
Together we read the messages on the wall.
Merry Christmas all!!!
REMEMBER, MAKE IT A GOOD ONE!
Santa is coming to Henffordd, to old and young.
Underneath that one was a young kid’s writing: No he’s not. I’m smart enough to know it’s all a lie.
Benjamin and I decided we loved that kid. I said that if I ever had children I wouldn’t do the Santa thing. He said he wouldn’t either. I thought, wow, we should be parents together, but of course I didn’t say it. But I did hold his hand. It was becoming a familiar touch by now – his warm palm against mine. It was so bally normal to do it, just like it seemed so bally normal for us to send each other novels of thoughts in email-form, phone each other from evening to morning and sit next to each other in Church.
“You need to cut your fingernails,” I said absentmindedly, while reading another chalk-written line.
You don’t need no mistletoe, someone wrote, to kiss your sweetheart.
I read that message before Benjamin did. He was reading some Christmas Carol lyrics someone wrote down. So I read it aloud, sort of laughing about it.
“Haha,” Benjamin grinned.
“What?” I asked, looking at his face.
“How ‘bout it then.”