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Sam's Letters to Jennifer
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SAM AND I are sitting on a mostly deserted beach on Lake Michigan a little north of the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The Drake is filled with treasured memories for both of us, and we had dinner at our favorite table there earlier. I need to be with Sam tonight, because its one year since, well, everything happened that shouldnt have happenedits one year since Danny died.
This is the spot where I met Danny, Sam. In May, six years ago, I say.
Sam is a good listener who holds eye contact beautifully and is almost always interested in what I have to say, even when Im being a bore, like now. Weve been best friends since I was two, maybe even before that. Just about everybody calls us the cutest couple, which is a little too saccharine for both of our tastes. But it happens to be true.
Sam, it was freezing that night Danny and I met, and I had a terrible cold. To make it worse, I had been locked out of our apartment by my old boyfriend Chris, that awful beast.
That despicable brute, that creep, Sam contributes. I never liked Chris. Can you tell?
So this nice guy, Danny, comes jogging by and he asks if Im all right. Im coughing and crying and a total mess. And I say, Do I look like Im all right? Mind your own blanking business. Youre not going to pick me up, if thats what youre thinking. Scram! I snorted a laugh Sams way.
Thats where I got my nickname, Scram. Anyway, Danny came back on the second half of his run. He said he could hear me coughing for two miles down the beach. He brought me coffee, Sam. He ran up the beach with a hot cup of coffee for a complete stranger.
Yes, but a beautiful stranger, you have to admit.
I stopped talking, and Sam hugged me and said, Youve been through so much. Its awful and its unfair. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better for you.
I pulled out a folded, wrinkled envelope from the pocket of my jeans. Danny left this for me. In Hawaii. One year ago today.
Go ahead, Jennifer. Let it out. I want to hear everything tonight.
I opened the letter and began to read. I was already starting to choke up.
Dear, wonderful, gorgeous Jennifer . . .
Youre the writer, not me, but I had to try to put down some of my feelings about your incredible news. I always thought that you couldnt possibly make me any happier, but I was wrong.
Jen, Im flying so high right now I cant believe what Im feeling. I am, without a doubt, the luckiest man in the world. I married the best woman, and now Im going to have the best baby with her. How could I not be a pretty good dad, with all that going for me? I will be. I promise.
I love you even more today than I did yesterday, and you wouldnt believe how much I loved you yesterday.
I love you, and our little peanut. . . . Danny.
Tears started to roll down my cheeks. Im such a big baby, I said. Im pathetic.
No, youre one of the strongest women I know. Youve lost so much, and youre still fighting.
Yeah, but Im losing the battle. Im losing. Im losing real bad, Sam.
Then Sam pulled me close and hugged me, and for the moment at least, it was all betterjust like always.