Average Jane

Lady of the Water

I’ve only ever received one love letter.

It was from Paul. No need for a pseudonym since I wouldn’t know where to start looking. For him, that is. We haven’t seen each other in 10 years. Paul was a counselor at my summer camp, a Jewish camp in the mountains of Maryland. I was a CIT at least 3 years his junior.

Paul intrigued me from the moment we met. If he followed the beat of a drum at all, the drummer couldn’t keep time. He wore clothes that didn’t quite fit. He wore welding goggles as sunglasses and made it look normal. Natural. He was an intellect and a wordsmith… and I didn’t notice.

Well, I noticed. Clearly, I noticed. I noticed that he wasn’t all that friendly and that everyone thought he was weird. I noticed that he paid me all the wrong sort of attention and had a tendency to chase me around and spit things on me. At that point, I was too young and naïve to find this arrogance and cruelty attractive.

The summer went by and the torture continued. His jokes persisted, but it all seemed pretty par for the course. I was, have always been, kindling for the bonfire of my peers. A little something to get the jokes going, and then, they just didn’t stop. Don’t stop.

That summer was torturous. But it finally came to an end. I remember the days ticking by before the bus would return me to my home, my family, and the torture would begin again. This time at school. But before the busses pulled away, Paul approached me. Handed me a letter. Gave me a hug. And before I knew it, he was gone. It was hours before I would read it, but 10 years later, I continue to read it over and over again in my mind, taunting me with the idea that I was loved. I was lusted after. But more than that, I was seen.

It was dramatic. Misspelled. Poorly punctuated.  But precious. So precious. We were young. So young.

I wish I could find Paul. A “missed connection” for the ages.


I do not know if we’ll ever meet again. Yet if the occurrance happens, I desire that we will have both grown, just as the roots of one of the trees that lives on the campus do. Until that occurrence, I wish you to know this: You are a woman of the water. You move just as it does. What does that mean? The next time you travel through a stream, take notice of the water; take notice of how it flows and shapes the rocks and beach. Take notice of the deer tracks, and realize that deer drink and eat from the stream. Yes, they do not eat the animals within the water, but eat the green growth that was bon, as a result of the stream. You are of the water. The film Sirens comes to mind, yet the fictitious play does little justice to your Beauty. Because of this beauty of yours , I have been envious, violently, surprisingly (to me), envious. The entirety of my self both loves and hates you for your specialty, your forte of the One. This why I have sprayed you with water and confetti. This is why I have pursued the spitting in your face. This is why I embraced you this evening, instead of deracinating the can of confetti; from your hands with a kick or punch. I could have run away, but instead charged you with envy and love.


Why would I pull this out tonight? Why would I even think about Paul after all these years? Because I needed it.

I was drawn to my box of memories. My box of pain. I was drawn to the memories and to Paul. Feeling emotionally worn down and moderately unwanted, I turned to my past. This time, for comfort. In the dark, we reach for the light. This letter, well, it’s my light.

To be thought of as the water… such a force, shaping and influencing the world around me. Flowing effortlessly at times and raging against the world at others. But always moving.

I think about it often. And I think about Paul.

It would be 3 years after that letter  that I would finally be kissed. Years later until I had my first boyfriend. And my first love? Well, I guess we’ll just have to be patient.

But that summer, I was desired. I was appreciated. I was seen.


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  1. * carrie m says:

    ah, Paul…it’s nice to look back at the Pauls sometimes and think of your life as in a movie or something. Just sometimes.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 12 months ago
  2. * Mandy says:

    This was just beautiful Jane.

    I wonder how we all might be changed, if we could truly see ourselves as others see us. I often wish that the ones close to me could see themselves as I see them. For their radiance and perfect vulnerabilities.

    I wonder where your Paul is.

    I often wish that I could see myself the way people see me. What confounds me is that Paul and I spoke so infrequently, with such brevity. How did he know so much about me? CollegeGradRealWorld talked today about people watching. I wonder how often Paul watched me…

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 12 months ago
  3. * Jo says:

    It’s because of moments like this that I keep my old love letters. What ever happened to him?

    I don’t know what happened to him. I kinda wish there was someone who knew this goggle-wearing gentleman and could send him to me. Just to say hello. Just to say “thanks.” He probably hasn’t thought of me a day since that summer, but it would be nice to know…

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 12 months ago
  4. Who’s watching you now? Are you sure there aren’t any pauls around you?

    I wish I had had the courage to become at least the paul of some persons I’ve been watching, liking, admiring. But it takes the kind of confidence I never had. I wish I could add “yet” to this last sentence…

    That’s was a really beautiful entry btw.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 12 months ago

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