Dear Future Husband,
Alright, so, nice one Abi, a smiley face potentially not the best first impression, but I'm nervous OK: a life sentence is a pretty big deal, and I was just trying to be polite.
I have so many questions, least of all who you are, where you are, and how we might come to meet, but I guess at this point you may not be able to answer any or all of those either, so like me, they can wait.
I wasn't sure how I was going to organise these thoughts, (yeah, that'll be a recurring theme, and not just in my writing) but there's one thing I think bears addressing straight off here: expectation.
For all I know, future husband, you do not exist. (Is a rhetorical letter a thing?) For all I know, marriage, monogamy and the standard, socially accepted template existence is not in my future and that's OK. A little daunting perhaps, but OK.
This idea that we are all mere halves of a whole, killing time before we cobble together our existence with the boy next door or Dave from accounts seems pretty, well, limiting. I suggested further up this letter that I'm waiting for you to appear, future husband, but that's not strictly true, and as questionable as my track record is with men, I would like to think you're the kind of person who would more than encourage the whole not-waiting thing.
For a while though, I was. For a while I was a person who couldn't quite see her worth as a whole entity, a person dragging her heels and telling herself that things would be better, things would be OK and that life would be so much more, when you, or a pretender to your throne came along.
I'll admit that the idea that having a partner (and thus being deemed worthy of love by someone) was a crucial box to be ticked, held me back for a while, but it occurs to me that while the prospect of sharing a life and of building memories and traditions with someone sounds pretty fucking great, if nothing has come before that, if you've both sat around and told yourself no to the world and all its opportunities and experiences, then, future husband, what the hell is there going to be to talk about?
It occurs to me that in all this the other unhelpful thing is this judgement from others based on the idea that your worth is decided by anyone other than yourself. When people question your lack of a relationship, compare you to peers who've fast-tracked to wedded bliss and family, tell you 'your time will come.'
Well thanks, well-meaning bystander, but what if it doesn't? Let's say I'm staring down the barrel of 60-odd years of no one-person to come home to, no big day, no honeymoon, no fairytale I do. Am I a lost cause because of it? A wasted life? Of course not. Someone not in a relationship, or a marriage, or any kind of partnership is fulfilled, enriched, passionate, and content, just as the family with 2.4 children, maybe even more so, but there's clearly something about society's restrictive narrative that prompts us to pity, to console, to go out of our way to view the situation negatively.
There may well be negative feelings associated with not being in a relationship, but no more so than the ones that can come with long-term partners and family life.
To live is human, not to live either alone, or in tandem. There is no qualifier.
I've got better at not caring though. I could tell you future husband that I simply don't care what other people think now, but that would be a lie, and well, that's not the best thing to base a marriage on, now, is it?
Learning to trust your own judgement, listen to your own reasoning, isn't something that came naturally me, and it still doesn't. Every day I make a choice, and a conscious effort to uphold it, and as with everything, the repeated action in time becomes habit. Maybe by the time we meet I will care even less.
Dear future husband, I hope you are a reader. Not least because a love of books and the written word is a sure sign of a beautiful, intriguing, attractive mind, but also because as your future wife, it's my duty to let you in on a little secret.
As your future wife, there will be times we disagree, times we shout and fight, and times when I inadvertently tail off mid-sentence, or brush away a question.
This is not a test; a hand of cards dealt around a dimly-lit table with the stakes set high at A Happy Ending. Nor is it a game to play, to taunt you or rile you, but instead a part of me that I am simply declaring, right here, right now, cards on the table, long before we have even met.
You see, as a writer, not everything in my head makes it out through my mouth. Often, writing acts as a voice for the thoughts, feelings and questions that, perhaps ironically, I cannot always find the words for, at least not out loud. Often, my subconscious plays out here too, things I am perhaps unaware of or hadn't really realised, or even considered about myself, scattered across seemingly unrelated subjects, like the occasional glowing ember among the ashes of a dying fire.
So dear, future husband I hope you are a reader, because my writing can tell you more about me than I ever could, for better or for worse, and while there won't be a test, my writing is very much a part of me, and the secrets you may inadvertently unearth could well be some of the secrets to our happiness.
That may sound selfish, and indulgent, but future husband, hopefully you don't misunderstand me. Perhaps you, too, are a writer, and I can glean that same kind of unspoken understanding from you, but if not, know that however it is you choose to express things, I'll be listening.
Future husband, apologies that this is a bit of a long one, I mean, especially if you're not a reader, (Be honest, did you even make it this far? And yes, I realise that this is a redundant question if not) but in the words of the girl in Mean Girls who doesn't even go here, I just have a lot of feelings. If you're not appreciative of that reference, wait, who am I kidding, we wouldn't be married if you weren't at least vaguely appreciative of that reference, forget I even said anything.
So I'll sign this off now. Don't feel obliged to respond, but hey, it might be nice...
Until we meet, have fun, and here's to our future adventures, wherever, whenever, and if ever they may be.