To Bryan, on our anniversary

Dearest Bryan,

Seven years ago, you took me to see Thor. You didn’t know I refused popcorn because I didn’t want you to see I could finish a whole bag myself, and I didn’t know you didn’t kiss me because you were trying to be a gentleman. We only came to know these things, and much more, later.

When I was younger, and had suffered heartache, I’d ask my father why the men I gave my heart to didn’t seem to want it. He wouldn’t have an answer, and would simply say, “Lauren, I love you with all my heart, mind, and soul. I hate to see you this way.”

It is now I realize I’d never loved in this way until I met you.

My heart was the easiest to give, for it went freely and without trepidation. As soon as you told me you didn’t care for ranch dressing, I knew I’d found someone incredibly special.

“What if he doesn’t keep your heart safe,” my mind would ask. “What if he breaks it, or damages it beyond repair, or doesn’t want it anymore? What will we do then?”

My mind wanted to love you, but it was afraid and full of worry. For it knew my darkness, and it knew if you were to love me, you would have to come to know this darkness also.

And so, I came to sit on your bed and told you the things I thought might keep you from giving your heart of me. Things I wished I could take back, things I was ashamed of, and waited.

I waited for you to tell me to leave and never come back, that you couldn’t possibly love someone who had done the things I had. But instead, you held out your arms, and took me as I was.

Everything began to shift. It was as though the pieces of myself I’d lost along the way were returning to me, and my heart felt full, complete, intact. I knew I’d found the person I was meant to travel through life with, the person I could share my joy with, the person who knew me and loved me because of it.

And so today, 2,557 days after our first date, all I can really say is that I love you. I love you with all my heart, mind, and soul for today, for tomorrow, for forever.



About ljsharks

Lauren J. Sharkey is a Korean American writer from Long Island, NY. Her debut novel, INCONVENIENT DAUGHTER is forthcoming June 23, 2020, and is based on her experience as a transracial adoptee. Sharkey's creative nonfiction has appeared on DEAR ADOPTION,, Blind Faith Books' I AM STRENGTH collection, and others.


  1. A beautiful message to my nephew Bryan. You make such a great couple and we love that you are part of our family. Happy Anniversary to you both. May you have many more happy time together.

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