The Idea of Dear Charlie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALouisa was a beautiful girl. And with a life that many people described as a dream. The description was primarily accurate. While no life can be truly a perfect dream, it was quite wonderful. Though, little Louisa always wanted more. Quite subconsciously, of course. Since discontent often creeps upon us slowly, and is discarded for something completely different, and is therefore ignored.

Louisa was just shy of 21. She had a sunny disposition. A laugh that was endearing, for it is hard to have an endearing laugh. But Louisa had one. She used it often. And while discontentment grew in her life, she was still very generous. She was known for her generosity.

Her sweetheart was affectionately known as “dear Charlie.” Dear Charlie was the quiet sort. The opposite of Louisa. Dear Charlie was her balancing beam. She could conquer anything with dear Charlie at her side. And they often succeeded at everything they put their minds to.

But Louisa was most often concerned with how they, as a couple, looked to everyone else. She documented everything. Hash tagged all their memories. Stored picture after picture on Instagram. Gloated to her friends of dear Charlie this and dear Charlie that. Her social media was chalked full of posted updates about their relationship that was just so imperfect that it was perfect. You know the kind. As Louisa and dear Charlie passed the months together, they also passed each other by. And by passing by, I mean that Louisa became so caught up in the idea of dear Charlie that she forgot about dear Charlie. She spent so much time sharing her relationship with others that she forgot to share her relationship with dear Charlie.

And the slow separation of hearts soon became evident to Louisa. Of course, nothing huge had come between them. There was no massive argument. There was no disloyalty and no misuse of trust. Rather, it was the hashtags, Facebook updates, Instagram pictures, and the social standing that began to drift them apart. Because the idea of having dear Charlie by her side meant more than the loving of dear Charlie.

The desire to be accepted by friends, and “liked” by people was more important than maintaining the relationship. To have that momentary satisfaction of confirmation from a group of 45 friends made Louisa’s relationship worth it. And before you gasp, this is not how Louisa was consciously thinking, but discontentment does that. It creeps in a heart in a slow and destructive way. Disguising itself in all the acceptable terms that we give it.

Louisa realized her priorities were shifted in all the wrong places. Why, she didn’t even care for dear Charlie as well as she “cared” for her social media!

But then something changed in Louisa. A slow change. The kind that progresses so far inwardly that it takes time to see on the surface. This the most beautiful kind of change as it is slow, deliberate.

And just the other day, Louisa and dear Charlie were having the most beautiful time. I am not quite sure what those two were whispering about. I have no idea what stories were told between them or how long they flew their kite in the gentle breeze. I have no idea if he picked her a flower or held her hand.

Louisa didn’t post anything about that wonderful date. I saw her several days after their jaunt in the park. I asked her what was different. I asked her what changed. And she said, “I’ve learned to share my life with dear Charlie, instead of sharing about my life to everyone else.” I smiled and tucked her wise words deep in my heart. It was a lesson that I would no doubt keep forever.

And you know, I only see occasional social updates from Louisa. Although, I hear her laughter. Sweet. Blissful. Even yet, untamed. The sound is more endearing now.  She looks at her Charlie, and his eyes first find hers when he walks into the room. And it’s personal. Something is between them that the word doesn’t know about, and that is beautiful.

I don’t know everything that they do or say. But I can see that real-life magic from a distance, and it is so much better than mindlessly reading it in a post. They are investing in each other. They are truly sharing life with each other, instead of exposing to the world everything about their lives.

The idea of dear Charlie is forever replaced with a true love for him.


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