Imagine the scenes then. Nighttime in the Summer in Texas every night with a good friend and some interesting people. No job, no school, no bills. Hard work, but great fun and new challenges. I knew Brandy a little and Dana I'd talked to maybe three times in four years of high school.
So the night before the first performance the four of us are sitting behind the stage waiting for stuff while rehearsal is going on. Dana hands me a piece of paper with the word "hi" on it. I write back "hi". I ask "seen any good bands lately". She writes back "no". After a few more casual questions back and forth she writes "tell me about yourself". Her scene comes up. I don't answer.
On the night of the last of three performances, before the show, I hand Dana an answer. Seven pages. About myself. And stuff. Maybe the best thing I ever wrote. Didn't talk to her, in fact avoided her for fear of potential shame.
Hours later, with the show over, she comes up to me, hands me a wallet-size photograph. It's a picture of her, phone number on back. We talk for a bit. I help her carry stuff to her car. She's read the letter, and is nearly speechless.
A choice comes: go to Chili's with Daniel, Brandy, and Dana, or go to the cast party with everyone else and my mother. Comes what I've always referred to as the "pavilion scene". The four of us standing under a covered picnic table area deciding what to do.
Dana decides to go to Chili's. I really want to, but I'm shy, and I don't want to intrude, and I feel a little obligation to follow my mother to the cast party. Dana wants to go to the cast party, but feels a little obligation to Brandy and Daniel.
So we hugged and I said goodbye. The second I turned around I knew it was a mistake. During the cast party, all I could think about was that girl. All I had was the picture. And my shyness and fear-of-being-a-jerk. By the time we got home, my heart was heavy with the weight of my decision. Thought I'd probably never see her again.
Woke up late the next day, as I'd had a hard time sleeping. Walked out for some breakfast. Not feeling all that positive about the rest of the summer. Mother handed me an envelope. A thick envelope. With my name on the front. And "from:Dana".
Thus began the best hour of my life. Reading Dana's first letter. Fourteen pages. She'd been up half the night writing. And dropped it off on our front porch first thing in the morning. It was written in turquoise ink. She told me about herself. I fell in love in that hour. I had written "tell me your hopes, tell me your fears, tell me your dreams and goals and what you love and hate about this world". She did.
How to describe the physical sensation? I was high. Wonderfully, dazzlingly high. My heart had some of the wildest palpitary action going on. I was glowing. My hands shook. I had love jelly spread all round my mind.
It was the most gorgeous and amazing thing anyone had ever done for me. Here was this beautiful, priceless person spending hours answering me. Opening up to me. Showing me her mind. Wanting to know more about me. Actually thinking about the things I wrote. I had just discovered my soul's mate.
It wasn't just the immense relief at actually hearing from her having thought I'd never see her again. It wasn't just the fact that my uncharacteristically risky seven page opening letter had been received better than in my wildest dreams. It wasn't just the fact that someone, a beautiful girl in fact, had spent hours thinking of ME and writing to ME.
It wasn't just the pleasant shock and sweet surprise at the size of the letter and how quickly she had written back and the fact that it was the first thing to greet me on what otherwise might have been a pretty lackluster and even depressing morning.
It was mostly what she wrote. Her words were brilliant, radiant, divine. She was an artist. She was a poet. She was an angel. She was just as spectacular in being exactly herself as I'd imagined. I read and reread and reread. I cried and laughed at the same time. Couldn't eat. Couldn't sit still.
There were more letters. A LOT more. There were dates. Sitting in the park at three in the morning in the middle of July kissing and holding. Sitting outside the Main Bar reading poetry. Concerts. Six hour phone calls. There were short awkward moments that dissolved into long graceful ones. There were adventures. There were gifts. There were promises. There were our songs. Our restaurants. Our park. Our words. Our summer. It all started with the best hour of my life, the hour in which I read her first letter to me...