February 6th, 1900
My dearest Doctor Blythe,
Isn’t nostalgia such a peculiar thing? How the heart can be flooded with such a wistful longing for something that has not yet happened? I believe the correct term for this is ‘Sehnsucht’ — a yearning for something that one is yet to experience, a non-earthly land that one will soon call their home. That is you to me, my darling Gil. You and that little home that we shall share together, with the Christmas candles still glowing long into January and the garlands twisted around the rafters and laid along the mantle, still beautifully evergreen despite being placed there a full two months prior.
That is what our love shall be, evergreen forevermore. Long after strands of white streak my hair, and those crinkles that appear at the edges of your eyes when you smile have become permanent additions to the architecture of your face, shall we continue to love each other, and rewrite the rules that have been set for us. We were never the type to follow the status quo, Gilbert, to simply accept what has been laid before us. Let us make a vow now that we shall stay this way until every mountain on this great earth crumbles to the sea, or until the sun rises for the very last time. That way, we will always be Anne and Gilbert. Gilbert and Anne. Perpetually each other’s until the end of time, bearing the teasing from Bash and the gentle scolding from Marilla as we beat out our own path, “propriety be damned!” as you would say.
I was quite amazed at your recount of the cardiovascular system. I recalled what was taught so patiently to us by dear Ms. Stacy, but was inspired to seek out more, braving the biting February chill to scour the shelves of the library and lose myself in great leather-bound textbooks that spoke of hearts filled with four chambers: atriums and ventricles and Purkinje fibres! And I thought all mine was filled with was love for you, arteries and capillaries transporting that love through me like oxygen until every single cell of my being, your Anne, is filled with you, Gilbert. How I adore your keen mind, how you always strive to know more. That is a quality I identify so often in myself, much to Diana’s chagrin. She so often grumbles as I read over her shoulder, my head filled with quavers and treble clefs and what they all mean to those who are fluent in the language of music.
Would you grumble if I read over your shoulder, I wonder? If you took the great textbook I held in my hands in your own and slowly turned the pages, allowing me to stand behind you as you murmured the words, my hands ghosting through your curls like they so often now do? I can’t imagine so. You are always so patient with me, Gilbert. Always so forgiving. I can’t say I have always been the same (although I do so hope I have proven my devotion to you now, despite our rather tempestuous start.)
How splendid it must be for you to entertain in a good-natured game of hockey while the lakes are still frozen! I do wish I was able to partake in such an activity myself, but I am quite a distance from my beloved lake of shining waters and would receive a lashing from Mrs. Blackmore’s sharp tongue if I was to traipse sodden boots and muddied hems over her polished floor. Life is a great act here at Blackmore House; we can get up to much mischief, but it must always be absolutely indetectable to our dear hostess. Her keen eye wouldn’t miss a single hair that sat askew.
And much like your heart skips a beat when you think of me, did mine as I read about that hockey game from our school days. How I wish we had locked eyes over the ice, much like we had done countless times before. Perhaps my heart would have begun to race as it does all too often when I think of you, although I was much too foolish and devoted to my friendship with sweet Ruby to question why that was (you were still to be promised to her then. Did you know that? How fate can thwart the most set plans, although for that I am most grateful!) Or perhaps I would have been rendered completely speechless as your face curved with one of your slow smiles? One of those very secret smiles that you save just for me, causing me to forget how to breathe momentarily. You have often had that effect on me, Gilbert. I believe you are the only soul on this vast planet who has the ability to render me completely speechless!
But of course, I was much too stubborn to allow my eyes to drift to you, despite my thinking you made quite the dashing figure on the ice. But there will be other winters to come. Perhaps next time you engage in a friendly game of hockey back home in our beloved Avonlea, you will come to the edge of the lake, where the ice becomes snow, and steal a kiss from your most devoted of fans, who will be standing on the sidelines cheering you on. Or maybe you will take my hand in yours and drag me onto the ice, pass me a stick, and teach me how to shoot. I remember you once offering to slay my dragons for me, and I hope now you realize I am capable of doing that alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t desire company along the way. One Gilbert Blythe as my partner-in-crime; members of the same T-E-A-M. You can distract the great beast while I wield the sword!
My soul sang as I read your sentiment of our hearts being tethered together by a finely woven string. I hope it is as golden as my love for you. That it glows as warmly as my heart when my thoughts drift to you, as they so often do. Perhaps then the string will begin to warm, and you will feel the heat against your heart and your hand and imagine I am with you, my palm against yours. I believe we have always been destined for each other. Imagine, Gilbert, both of us as bright little pockets of stardust high in the Heavens, admiring the glow of the other from afar before being plummeted earthward, transformed into worldly beings so we can meet as we have. So I may be brought to Avonlea, and you may step from the mist like the dashing hero of my wildest dreams. Maybe that is why we have always had such an affinity to reflect upon the other when the world is awash with starlight? It reminds us of when we first fell in love, high in the skies, before I was Anne, and you were Gilbert, and we were nothing but pockets of stardust.
You write of my parents and your desire to know them, and I am certain they would have loved you as I do (although perhaps not so fondly.) I suppose you have come to know them in your own way. You know the freckles I imagine dusted the bridge of my father’s nose and my mother’s hair upon my head (and the temper that I’m certain I have inherited from her. Redheads are known to be fiery, though you’ve had enough experience of this for my explaining of it to be superfluous) just as I have come to know your mother through you. I imagine a most gracious woman with a long, dark tangle of wild curls that spill down her back, like the curls I so often long to feel beneath my fingertips, and a smile that feels like being caught in the first golden beams of daylight, much like yours.
How I long to see that smile now, to bask in your June glow on this chilly February evening. To feel your arms wrap around me and your heartbeat beneath your shirt as I melt into you, my most darling love. I ache for you so, as the windows of Charlottetown stores are filled with paper lace and cards, and I’m reminded that the holiday for lovers is fast approaching. How I wish I could see you on our first Valentine’s Day as a couple. As Gilbert and Anne, like the stars decreed.
I will end this letter on a less sentimental note. I have decided upon ginger snaps and shortbread for Ben and have recruited dear Ruby to assist me in the task, in the promise that we will make a batch for Moody also. I just have to decide how to send them to Toronto.
Longing to see you soon, my dearest love.
Forever yours faithfully,