January 15th, 1900
Darling, beautiful Anne,
I cannot begin to tell you how your letter helped to soothe my heartache after that endless train ride back to U of T and all of that reality. I have read and re-read every line, so much so that I think I can now recite it word-perfect. I have apologized to Ben because I know I was awful company these last few weeks. It’s quite comical when I think of it. I have buried my nose deep in your letter or staring blankly, reminiscing in my mind every single second of our first December holiday as “Anne and Gilbert.” (My studies have suffered somewhat and I find myself having to play catch up.) Back to what I was saying. Us. Together. I find myself wanting to remember everything. I loved your line in your letter about how in the past you preferred imagining, and now you are shifting to remembering. What a gift that is and it’s so true for me too. Anne, to be honest, I cannot imagine my life without you in it. I spent a lot of my train ride (and since) remembering everything about you from our time at home, and thinking about how much your way of seeing the world has healed mine. I feel like I’m finally living, and I already can’t imagine my life without you standing by my side, Anne.
I thought I would add to your beautiful memories and write in this letter what moments I have committed to my heart and memory forever:
Christmas Eve at Green Gables. Watching you every chance I got. I glanced up at that moment with Delly in my arms at the window, and captured to my heart the look on your face. I think it’s my most precious look. Anne, unguarded... wistfully and lovingly looking into our future. Pure magic. On a side note, Hazel and I spoke at length about the snow when we got home after Christmas Eve dinner. I recounted how Bash told me our winter sun wasn’t even real when he first arrived, and she agreed wholeheartedly! She does love the snow though!
Our moonlit walk together is a moment I too will treasure forever. It took me back to that moment on the porch when we spoke about making a good T.E.A.M. and how confused I felt that night. Being together, hand in hand, and being able to embrace you, kiss you, hold you, touch you, makes my heart light up. I really envy Cole’s talent of being able to capture you on canvas. That moment in the moonlight with your face turned up to me, looking at me so lovingly... I wish I could paint that. Everyone in Toronto is talking about the Eastman box camera. I am going to have to save up so I can take pictures of you, Anne.
Elijah singing on Christmas evening for Mary was a moment I too will never forget. I am just so proud of him and I so wish that Mary could have seen and heard him singing like that. He is becoming a real part of our family, just as she was praying he would and that was all I could think about as he was singing. That, and what a beautiful voice you have, Anne. I am so proud of you too. You are a very talented woman. I cannot think of anything you cannot do. And you always try, no matter what. My Father would have loved you so. He was so taken by your red hair and how thoughtful you were. I especially missed my Dad on Christmas, as it made me think of how he would have enjoyed everything. I saw Marilla looking at the sweater Bash had on Christmas night—it was my Dad’s. There was so much sadness and regret in that look, Anne. I know they were sweethearts, and obviously, it did not work out. It made me think about how lucky we are to be together. And somehow, we have fulfilled a broken dream? Look at me now, Anne Shirley-Cuthbert! You’ve brought out the sentimental in me. Bash did tell me all the time over the holiday that I’m as gooey as our honey! It gave me the opportunity to remind him that he was always chastising me for shying away from my feelings, so…
Delly’s joy at opening her presents was a moment to never forget. That absolute delight, and that enthusiasm that enriches us all. I will remember that. I did spend most of that time looking at you though. I realize now that my favourite past time over the last few years has been that very thing. Me looking at you. My heart sings now because I know it’s changed from wistful longing to the reality of us. One of the best things about looking at you now is the knowledge that if you catch me, I don’t have to pretend that I wasn’t. Also, as Delly was gleefully ripping, I did think of what a wonderful Auntie she’s going to have someday. (Don’t blush Anne; I think about this a lot, propriety be damned).
Anne, I think we should have a jar where we commit to writing the moments of pure treasured moments and our pathetic attempts at sign language to communicate with each other are in there already! Yes, I think we need to make up our own language. Our very own gibberish.
Everything we did together this holiday almost felt newer, lovelier, and brighter, like I’d never done them before. I feel different, everything feels different, when we’re together. By the way, I have told Moody that we want a rematch of the sledding race! I shall endeavour to practice. Moody and I spent some time catching up and I’m really glad he’s become a good friend. I feel like that’s something I owe to you too, Anne. I wasn’t much of a social being in our school days and this holiday was really fun for me. You and Bash have brought more laughter into my life. I like that. It feels wonderful to laugh more.
I want to confess something to you regarding the baking afternoon. When you suggested it, though in all honesty I wasn’t that enthusiastic, I went along with it all because any time spent with you is better than no time. But I have to admit, I loved it. ASC + GB do make a great T.E.A.M, even in the kitchen (and as long as we use the right ingredients, right Anne?). I want to try out all of Mary’s recipes in the book you made for Delly, will you help me? Committed to memory from that day are a number of moments, including me thinking how even flour smudges suit you, the fact that your giggles are like music to me, and how anything we do together can be such fun. Bash, by the way, refused to believe that I had baked the scones right up to the moment that I recounted, step by step, exactly how we made them, and then he was impressed. I have to say, scones are not his favourite. Bash often tells me that I eat far too bland for his liking and that I mustn’t think salt is the only ingredient. I’d like to try and experiment with savoury scones the next chance we get. So, that too is on our cooking agenda. I did mention to Hazel that I want to learn more about Caribbean cuisine and traditions. The introduction of spices to our food has been a welcome addition to our (yes Bash, I know, bland) pallet. I’d like to eat more adventurously and try new things more. Are you with me, my Anne? Let’s endeavour to be more adventurous in our culinary explorations.
Did you find the letter I begged Marilla to hide in your suitcase, by the way? You did not mention it, so I fear we might have the case of another missing letter!! I hope you have found it, Anne. I meant every single word, my love. Every. Single. Word. “Day by day and night by night we were together - all else has long been forgotten by me.” That’s from my favourite Walt Whitman poem (as you well know) and it defines perfectly how I feel about you. You are my everything.
My darling, I have a mountain of reading to do. So much of my time here at university is spent reading, and to be honest, I have not had time to read much else. I have a pile on my desk to get through and yet all I want to read (and reread) is that passage in Pride and Prejudice that you shared with me over the holidays. You know how much I love reading, and reading together will now be a favourite pastime. I used to read to my Father and it feels really special to be able to share that now with you. It is especially lovely not to just be reading medical books and journals. Reading for pure pleasure has been restored. Also, I like the fact that I used to read to escape, now I feel like I read because I really love it and I don’t have to escape anything.
I want to close off this letter by saying something I thought of on the train. You mentioned in passing over the holidays asking all our family and friends to capture a thought, wish, feeling, hope, or dream they have for this shiny new (and yes, best) century we have just started I kept meaning to say that we should do it, but I'm quite distracted when you are next to me Anne, so I kept forgetting. I am going to think about my note but I think I’ll have to have a few—one just for us. What do you say, Anne? Shall we do this on our summer holidays?
I have to catch up with my work even though my bed looks very inviting. When I eventually get to go to sleep tonight and every night, you’ll be my last thought as I fall asleep, and my first thought as I wake up. I know you’ll be in my dreams too. Anne, I love you.
Enjoy the term, my love!