The sun had begun to slant early autumn light on your face, and in that illumination, gold and rose, I saw you the first time.
I mean really saw you, unlike every other glance before when you spoke and I thought I heard but hadn’t, that late afternoon before you had to leave and I wasn’t sure I’d ever see you again.
The sun had begun to slant, showing me things I had never seen about you, things I never knew lay behind your eyes, behind your awkward laugh when I told you I thought you were beautiful all those other times before.
That’s why you were laughing all those times before, because you knew I had not really yet seen you, was only uttering words I knew I was supposed to say, the sounds a man makes when he knows he’s supposed to see something but isn’t sure he did.
You were laughing because you knew I hadn’t seen you yet.
And now I understand why, when you left just after the trees swallowed that last bit of light (just before everything went so very crimson and so very rose) your laughed changed.
I felt it, not so awkward, like you’d caught something in the light too when I said you were beautiful.
You laughed and looked at me, turning your face so I could see. That’s when I saw it, what I had never seen before behind your eyes, something for which the word beautiful was just man-noise.
Which is why you were always laughing before. And I said it anyway, and you laughed but it changed, and you stared at me like you saw something there too.
And then I said I love you, and then you did too.
And then I understood why you were always laughing.
And I think you understood why I always said you were beautiful.
And then you left, stood up as the trees swallowed the sun.
And then you left, and I did not know if I would ever see you again.
And then you left, and I held on to this love letter, written before we ever met, written now, remembering a future which will one day be a past in which I have always known you.
I still do not know if I will ever see you again, because I have not yet even seen you yet.
But I think I will, because I have this letter written before we ever met.
And if I do, I will show it to you.
See? I’ll say.
I told you I have always known you.