Nathan Erickson has sent you a friend request” read her notifications on Facebook. She checked his profile to see who he was. “3 mutual  friends” it showed. Oh! So he was the new guy who had just joined school a month back. Anna had never really spoken to him, though she had occasionally seen him in class.

Quiet, reserved and calm, Nathan had only recently become a part of Anna’s biology class. Sure, he was tall, handsome and had girls drooling over him but he never seemed to care. He used to come to school, attend lectures and leave. That was about it. However, he had one nasty habit – never took that blue cap off his head. Always kept it on and surprisingly, the teachers never seemed to mind. It annoyed her. Getting a friend request from someone like him intrigued Anna but she hit the accept button nevertheless.

Summer vacations had just begun. All students had a month and half all to themselves, to enjoy to their heart’s content. Anna didn’t see Nathan at the malls or the movies but they had started chatting on Facebook on a regular basis. Just yesterday, they had exchanged phone nos. He was great to talk to. Funny, witty, knowledgeable and always seemed to know the right thing to say.

As weeks passed, Anna started to fall in love with Nathan. It seemed as though these text messages were their love notes to one another and it was just a matter of time before she told her friends about him. But first, she had to tell him..

Hey Nathan! It has been great being friends with you. I never knew we would have so much in common and it would be so easy to open up to you. It’s been 2 years since I broke up with John and I haven’t been at ease with any guy after him….till you came along. I know we have only spoken by text and haven’t really spent that much time in person. But something makes me believe it will be perfect. I couldn’t sum up the courage to call you, so I’m texting. I love you Nathan. Would you like to go on a date with me?” She patiently waited for his reply. It didn’t come….not until 4 in the morning. Her heart stopped as she read out his message.

Dear Anna, I’m so humbled and flattered to get this text from you. I thought this day would never come. There have been so many girls at school who are constantly swarming around me but you were never one of them. You gave me small smiles every time our eyes met but you chose to give me my space. The first time I saw you, my heart skipped a beat and it gets that way ever since, even when I get a single text message from you. You have no idea what you do to me girl. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met, so easy to be with. And I would never change anything about you. I could just look at you all day and never even once want to blink. For me, it has been love since the very beginning. But I’m sorry, We can’t be together. I don’t want to see you cry. I can’t hurt you.

Perplexed, Anna asked Nathan what his last statement meant, to which he said he was sending her a package and he wanted her to open it only and only after his friend Samuel called her…whenever that would be. That’s it. That’s the last they spoke to one another. She repeatedly messaged and called him, to no avail. His inbox was filled with tearful messages of why he wouldn’t talk to her anymore. No answer. She had received a package the very next day of his last message to her and she had waited on it, till a week later, when Samuel called.

Hey. Anna is it? Yeah, I’d called to let you know you can open the package. Anna rushed to her room to get the package. It had been on her bedside table all this time. As she unwrapped the package, a note fell out with a scrapbook and a voice recorder. As Anna opened the note and began reading it, her eyes filled with tears.

Anna, my love, I’m sorry you are having to read this now but I just couldn’t get myself to do this before. I joined school year so late because I was only going to be here for a while. I had come to this city to get treatment for my cancer. The doctors where I lived, told me that if I had a chance, it was here. But I guess my luck wasn’t helping me with that. When I got here, they told me they could give me a few months but that’s all I had. I didn’t want to sit in the hospital all the time. I wanted to learn! You know now how much I love learning. So, I was allowed to attend a few of my favourite classes while I attended my chemo simultaneously. Now you know the secret to my blue cap huh? Last week, when you confessed your love to me, I was at the hospital. My condition was worsening and the doctors told me I had less than a week to live. With you, I had forgotten all my pain, all my sorrows. How I wished to be with you. But all summer, with my deteriorating health, my wheelchair prohibited me. You were the one person in my life who didn’t pity me for my condition. That is because you didn’t know of it. I’m sorry I never told you. But I just wanted to talk to someone who wouldn’t keep talking to me as though I just had a few days to live. If you are reading this, it means I am no longer around. But I shall live on in your heart forever. I will never deny that I love you. I have loved you till my last breath. You gave my life reason. I have lived my life in these three weeks of summer. I would never change any thing about it. Please don’t cry. I know I have hurt you immensely but the only reason I didn’t call you to the hospital was because I didn’t want to see you hurt and crying. That was not a memory I wanted to take with me. The image of you that I love the most, of you smiling is what I am taking with me. Please stay happy. I love you. And yes, if life would’ve given me the chance, I would’ve loved to go out with you. 

                                          -Yours only, Nathan

Anna broke down. She was devastated. Her life had been ripped apart right in front of her. It had been 2 hours after she read the letter that she finally stopped crying. Taking the scrapbook in her hand, she flipped through it. They were pictures of her at school that he had clicked, pictures, she had no knowledge of. They were stuck neatly with a note stuck to each. Notes like – the first time I saw you in that red dress or the first time I saw you grimace looking at that frog in the science lab. Her heart melted. As she heard the song on the voice recorder, she realized it was the song she loved most, sung by him, just for her. At that moment, she realized that she had loved the perfect person. Nobody would ever love her as much as he did. For his sake, she had managed to get a weak smile on her face. Anna attended Nathan’s memorial service a few days later. Her eyes just wouldn’t stop tearing up. She couldn’t stay for long.

It was almost a year before Anna finally started stabilizing in life. Life went on. 

20 years later, as her brother cleaned up her house, he found the reason why his sister never married or dated anybody. The letter Nathan had given her, had been framed and put up, just above her bed. Three weeks of summer was all the LOVE she had ever needed….