You’re probably surprised to get this letter from me after all these years. Communicating with you has always been a chore due to your aversion to technology (a characteristic I still find profoundly endearing) but I’m hopeful you may someday find this blog and know how I feel.
I’ve been thinking about you lately and I miss you.
Yes, I know I visited you twice since we were together but it just wasn’t the same. The first time it was I who had changed (I was more relaxed), but the second time you seemed different. Could it have been because my wife was with me? That shouldn’t have made a difference. But even under those circumstances it was better to see you than not.
And I enjoy seeing you. I’ll never forget the first time I saw you, it was early in the morning and the sky was covered in pink. You were breathtaking. The words I knew couldn’t communicate what I felt. You know I struggled with that for a while.
My favorite time of day with you, however, was always dusk. The ground still damp from the afternoon’s rain, the air was colored orange for a brief moment as the day’s light was bidding us farewell. It was those brief flashes that helped me forgive you for what you had done to me. And what you did has changed me forever, thankfully for the good.
The other day I smelled something that reminded me of you… oh how I miss your smell. They say the sense of smell is the most powerful provocateur of nostalgia. I believe it. Here in New York I’ll often catch a scent that transports me to an exact street corner with you. I sniff again and it’s gone. But I savor those inhales and readily anticipate future ones.
And you know I hated your cooking at first. Hated it. I only ate it to be polite. But I soon realized the genius in its simplicity. I began to appreciate the subtle flavors and the labor that went into its preparation. Now I can’t get enough. I’m constantly searching for restaurants that cook the same way you do and have come up empty. You had the magic touch, your tender hands made the food but your heart made it delicious.
Our time together was difficult. Gloriously difficult. It was glorious. When we were together I told myself that in the future I’d forget all the bad stuff… and ya know what? I was right. Now I think the bad stuff was good stuff. It was the best time of my life. But since then I’ve had better. Even before we began, we knew we would eventually end and in the end I was happy to move on. Dating at BYU was fun. Marriage is even better. And challenging. And beautiful. Life is truly better now.
But I want to see you again. And again. And again for the rest of my life. I plan to build a house with you and visit often. I want my children to know you. You will always occupy the warmest corner of my heart.
I love you Guatemala.
With all my most tender feelings,
Rusty (Elder) Clifton