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Letters

I’ve seen more flowers today than when I visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in April.

I’ve seen red roses resting atop security desks in Hoover, and being toted to various offices. I’ve seen pink carnations riding shotgun in a delivery van in Moody. I’ve seen the gravel parking lot of a flower shop near our home overrun with vehicles, all driven by men. I imagine that, by now, they have run out at Publix and Wal-Mart.

I’ve had to walk past a box of Shari’s Berries the size of a baseball field’s base. I’ve heard the rustle of Ghirardelli packages being opened.

Flowers and chocolate seem to be the crown jewels of love stories, but I want to tell you one about letters.

This short story has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. In fact, this story, every bit of it true, occurred in May. 

There was this young couple, dating for just a few months. On May 31, the man in the relationship decided that he loved the woman, and he penned her a page-long note in bright red ink. That man struggled to verbalize his feelings, so he chose to write them down and hand it to her. For the first time, he told her that he loved her. She said the same.

The following year, the couple was married. He wrote her another letter, and she read it just prior to the wedding ceremony. She had penned one for him, too, and he read it under a tree not far from the chapel. The woman eloquently wrote about trust, protecting each other’s hearts, encouragement and unconditional love.

There are a couple hundred words included in this letter, but eight of them stand out: “By the way, did you notice the date?”

In the top right corner was the date the woman had written the note. It was May 31. 

The man and woman had written each other letters May 31, announcing their feelings, making predictions about their future. They were completely unaware that the other was doing the same. 

I suppose you call that fate.

Gary Lloyd is the author of five books: "Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History," "Deep Green," "Heart of the Plate," "Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South," and "Ray of Hope." He has been a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines in Mississippi and Alabama. He grew up in Trussville, Alabama, and graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School in 2006. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Alabama in 2009. He lives in Moody, Alabama, with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Abby and Sonny.

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