No One Will Ever Love You Like I Do

I had to laugh out loud at the final sentence of the letter. I found it crumpled up and clearly tossed aside.  It was tucked into a corner between the front of someone’s house and their steps. I hoped it was a letter when I saw the crinkled college-lined paper winking at me. I love peering into other people’s lives. It is why I am walking around my neighborhood at dusk. The lights are on but people haven’t closed their blinds yet. I can see in.

In one house the front sitting room is filled with lawn furniture.  I assume they picked it from someone’s trash. There is nothing on the walls.  There is no TV. But every night the Mom, Dad and eight-year-old boy sit at a glass table with a hole in the middle, for a nonexistent sun umbrella, and play cards. I would really like to meet them. I keep my eye out for them on the street. I hope their financial situation improves.

A few doors down is a house with the same physical layout.  Every wall is painted a different shade of grey. And then there are the carefully curated objects. A splash of jade. A touch of blood red. Filled bookshelves. A modern chandelier. Art, definitely originals not posters. The whole spread looks like it was torn out of Dwell magazine. The woman always has a full glass of wine. I never see anyone else there. I can’t tell if she is lonely or contented.  I am certain it is possible to be a little bit of both.

Anyway, back to the letter, my little gem. I would love to have a conversation with the guy who wrote it so I could tell him how amazingly condescending (not to mention cliché) his last line was.  “No one will ever love you like I do.” Um.  Gee.  I hope not. What are you saying kid? That your seventeen-year-old girlfriend is incapable of inspiring deep love, affection or devotion in another individual ever for the rest of her presumably long life?  A tad belittling, perhaps? Or are you saying that no other guy out there is as deep as you? A little egotistical don’t you think?

He was doing okay up until that point, but any warmth or nostalgia he was inspiring in the rest of the letter was all crumpled up in disgust and tossed aside with that last line. I wonder, does he honestly think he is the only person who can really love her? Or did he just hear that line in a song and think it sounded romantic? Either way, it was the clincher which is partially responsible for why she is in the backseat of a car right now being deeply appreciated by someone else.

It makes me think of that Cat Stevens song Wild World.  I recently heard that song again while shopping in Trader Joes. I had the same reaction- I had to laugh out loud. People love that song.  It is a classic.  And true, the melody is great and he can sing but the lyrics- wow.  It is the most condescending break up song ever written. It starts out- his heart is breaking in two. He is grieving, “but if you want to leave take good care/ I hope you have a lot of nice things to wear.” Okay. Wait a minute. Scratch the record. Did he just say, “I hope you have a lot of nice things to wear”? He did.

And there are many more great little nuggets in that song.  Here’s another one, “It is hard to get by just upon a smile.” Right. Because every woman really wants to be told that all she has to get by on in the world is her smile. Then there’s the, “don’t be a bad girl” line. All I can think when I hear that song is of course she dumped him. She had no choice.  And Kudos to her for doing it first, the relationship was going to end anyway. He had her in a box on a pedestal. A pretty naïve girl barely capable of finding things to wear or making friends. She had nowhere to go. Nowhere to grow.  Even if she kept herself very contained life itself would have changed her eventually and then he would have been the one to leave.  Probably for a doe eyed much younger woman.

I picture her driving down Highway One in California when his huge hit about her comes on the radio. She scoffs and shakes her head. She is on her way to see a man.  A man who is more than okay with her not being a “good girl.” A man who will never remember her “like a child.” She doesn’t know where her new relationship is headed but she does know this- it is the best sex she has ever had.  Mind blowing. A revelation. Cat Stevens may have been her first but nothing about his much loved song makes her wish he was still her only.


This post is a work of fiction inspired by the Day 5 assignment of The Daily Post’s Writing 101 class:

Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path.You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Given the full list of guidelines at 847 words I am not sure that I achieved the level of brevity that they were looking for but it is still short for a story and I had fun writing my first piece of fiction in  a very long time.

And though it is not mentioned in my story, I would also like to share with you the most beautiful and heart wrenching break up song ever written- Landslide.  This song literally gives me the chills every time I hear it:


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