I had been back in Heidelberg for a couple days when I received Maggie’s response to my last two letters: the one in which I asked her “What have you done to me?” and the other in which I questioned her statements that angered me the last night I was with her. As usual, she spoke with absolute honesty.
It may seem that I am sharing Maggie’s entire letter, but these are merely my favorite excerpts. I’m also underlining some of Maggie’s comments that affected me the most. THESE WERE NOT UNDERLINED IN THE ACTUAL LETTER.
This was a long letter that not only touched my heart, but made me realize even more what a unique person this Maggie was; how very different she was from any other girl I had ever dated.
Maggie began her letter, dated January 31, 1968, telling me how she felt about my “What have you done to me?” letter:
Here I sit, heart bursting with joy, tears streaming down my cheeks, out-loud laughter echoing through the corners of my home and you ask – “what have I done to you!” I don’t know what I’ve done to you, but whatever it is may it grow and last forever. I want that more than anything in this world (No exaggerating).
And then later in this same letter she addressed her comments on our last evening together:
“You hadn’t met my expectations”
“You didn’t do the thoughtful things that I long for”
“Our marriage wouldn’t last two weeks”
Ha Ha Ha! Did I say all that? What a spoiled brat I am. You didn’t fall all over me and let me walk all over you --- that was all!
(MOST OF THE GUYS MAGGIE DATED WERE SO CAPTIVATED BY HER THAT SHE PRETTY MUCH CONTROLLED THEM. THEY WOULD OFTEN DO OR SAY WHATEVER THEY THOUGHT SHE WANTED THEM TO DO OR SAY, HOPING SHE WOULD CONTINUE LIKING THEM.)
You proved to me that you were a real man (something rare these days) and proved to me that you weren’t kidding when you said that your love for a girl would always last. (That’s a switch).
(MAGGIE WAS BEGINNING TO REALIZE THAT I MEANT WHAT I SAID IN MY LETTERS – THAT I WOULD NOT TELL HER I LOVED HER UNTIL I WAS CERTAIN – THAT WHEN I WOULD SAY “I LOVE YOU” IT WOULD BE FAR MORE THAN JUST WORDS. I’M SURE MANY GUYS SHE DATED HAD NO PROBLME SAYING THOSE WORDS).
Actually, you threw me completely off guard. I was hurt by a new realization – that true love doesn’t grow on trees.
In defense, I said things to heal my wounded pride, to show you that I could walk out on you at the whim of a moment, that I could make you see that I was not so foolish as to give my love when I was receiving nothing in return. What a liar I was and all because I was so blind. I couldn’t even tell that you missed me, really missed me, and all because I didn’t really know you…
As for our marriage lasting two weeks – well, that was the classic. Here we hardly even know each other and I make a statement that juvenile.
You asked me to wait for you and I know you meant it. You know the answer – I’ll wait for as long as it takes to prove one thing; that we can be happy together for the rest of our lives…
And then, near the end of her letter, Maggie wrote:
One thing I must ask you. If there is ever a time when I don’t seem to understand you, please give me the chance to try. Don’t lose faith in me too quickly. Let me learn, for I feel that I love you and with that love, a need to have you always. I don’t want to lose you because of something as stupid as stupidity.
I guess I do miss you after all. A strange feeling is in me and it’s almost frightening --- You may be displeased by this next piece of news. First of all, I must tell you that what feeling I have for you now stems mostly from the three days we spent together and your last two letters. It’s funny how sure I was of my feelings before you came home, and once you were home, so unsure at times, and now so sure again…
Dennis, I hope you’ll always feel a need to be near me. You know, not holding hands or rubbing legs beneath a table (well, that’s not bad), but like what I feel for you --- to be able to look around to find you there, or call your name just to hear your answer. I need someone very much. That someone is you.
To think that the things that I worried about most --- being klunky, saying silly things, getting nervous, smiling too much ---are the things that seemed to please you most. I won’t ever change for “anyone” and how wonderful to know that “anyone” doesn’t want me to.
I was ecstatic after reading this letter. I now realized why Maggie made those comments that frightened me and I also felt that our relationship had gone to a higher level. We both came through our 2 ½ days together with a greater understanding of each other and a greater awareness of ourselves. I was now certain that Maggie was not only the girl in her letters, but that she may very well be the woman I would marry. Maggie, on the other hand, began to get a deeper appreciation of love - that it wasn’t simply impulsive kisses and holding hands, but something that needed to be nurtured before it could grow strong and last a lifetime.