I have read many love stories, but I don’t think any quite live up to this one.
It’s a little long, but I promise you it is worth reading till the very end. I could barely move when I finished reading it, the tears were just pouring down my face.
It’s true, as they say, that true love never dies, and what’s meant to be will be.
On my way home one chilly day, I stumbled suddenly across a wallet someone had dropped in the street. I picked it up and looked inside to see if there was a driver’s license or ID card that could help me get a hold of the owner. But all I found inside was a $5 bill … and a crumpled letter that looked like it had been there for years.
The letter lay in a worn out envelope, and the only remaining visible thing on it was a return address. I opened the envelope and took out the letter in the hope of finding more clues. That’s when I saw that the letter was dated from 1955 — 60 years ago.
It was written in a beautiful, feminish handwriting, and a picture of a small flower lay in the upper left corner of the page. The letter began “Dear John” and then the writer began informing him, John, that they would no longer be able to meet one another… as her mother forbade it. But despite this, she wrote that she would always love him. The letter was signed “Kerstin”.
It was a beautiful letter, but besides the name John, there were little clues to help figure out the owner. I decided to try calling directory assistance and see if they could perhaps produce a list of different phone numbers for residents who had lived at the return address on the envelope.
“Hello. I have a somewhat unusual request,” I told the operator that picked up. “I’m trying to locate the owner of a wallet I found. Is there any chance for you to provide a telephone number for an address I found on an envelope in the wallet?”
The operator connected me to her director, who managed to obtain a number: “Yes, there’s a number listed to that address, but I can’t give it out unfortunately. But I can call it myself and explain the situation, and see if they agree to talk to you.”
He placed me on hold and within a few minutes, he was back.
“I have someone who wants to talk to you,” he said.
It was a woman on the other end. I asked if she knew someone named Kerstin.
“Oh! We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Kerstin, but that was 30 years ago!”
“Do you know where the family is now?” I asked.
“I heard that Kerstin had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago. Perhaps you can contact the home and see if they can help you locate the daughter?”
I got the number to the retirement home and called. They informed me that unfortunately the elderly woman had passed away some years ago, but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter was staying.
I thanked them and rang up the new number. The woman who picked up informed me that Kerstin had also moved into a retirement home now. This was beginning to seem hopeless, I thought. Why was I struggling so much to find the owner of a wallet that contained just $5 and a 60-year-old letter?
In any case, I didn’t give up. I called the nursing home where the woman had told me that Kerstin would likely be living. A man answered.
“Yes, Kerstin lives here with us.”
Although it was already 10pm, I asked if I could pass by and meet her. “Y-ees…” he replied hesitantly. “You can take a chance, you may find her sitting in the common living room, watching TV.”
I thanked him and drove up to the nursing home. I was greeted at the door by a nurse and a guard. They escorted me up to the third floor and there in the common living room the nurse presented me to Kerstin, who sat on the sofa. She looked like a kind woman, with a warm smile, and despite her age, she had a twinkle in her eye. I told her about my finding the wallet and showed her the letter.
The moment she saw the letter with the little flower in the corner, she took a deep breath and said: “Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with John”.
She seemed to disappear into her thoughts momentarily, then she said: “I loved him very much but I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked exactly like the actor Sean Connery.”
“Yes, John Anderson was really a wonderful person,” she went on. “If ever you were to meet him, please tell him that I think of him often. And…” she hesitated a moment and bit her lip, before she smiled, and with tears in her eyes said: “Tell him I still love him. I never married, I guess no one could live up to John for me…”
I thanked Kerstin for her time, said goodbye and took the elevator back down to the first floor. When I got there, the guard asked me how my meeting with Kerstin had gone. I said she’d given me a clue: “I at least have a name, but I think I have to let it go for the moment. I’ve already spent the whole day trying to find the owner.”
I took the wallet out of my pocket. It was a simple-looking, brown wallet, with a red band around it. When the guard saw it, he exclaimed: “Wait a second, that’s Mr. Anderson’s wallet. I recognize it from the red band, he always drops it and I’ve picked it up right here in the hall at least three times.”
“Who is Mr. Anderson?” I asked as my heart began to beat faster.
“He lives up here on the eighth floor. It’s definitely his wallet. He must have dropped it when he was out walking.”
I quickly thanked the guard and ran back to the nurse’s office. I explained what the guard had just told me, and together we promptly went up to the eighth floor. I crossed my fingers that Mr. Anderson would still be awake.
When we arrived, we were met by another nurse who informed us that he had just been sitting in the living room and reading. “He’s a very nice old man,” she said.
We walked toward his room, where we could see the door was open and his light was on. The nurse went over to him and asked if he had recently lost his wallet. He looked up at her, surprised and said: “Yes, indeed I have!”
“This kind gentleman found a wallet and he was wondering if it might be yours,” the nurse said.
I handed the wallet over to the old man. The moment he saw it, he smiled with relief: “Yes, it’s mine. I must have dropped it when I was out walking earlier today. I need to thank you somehow.”
“No, that’s ok. But I must tell you something. I read the letter that was in your wallet to try to figure out who owned it…”
The smile suddenly disappeared from his face. “You read the letter?”
“I did not just read it… I think I know where Kerstin is.”
He became very pale. “Kerstin? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as beautiful as she was before? Please tell me!”
“She is doing fine… As beautiful as when you knew her,” I said slowly.
The man’s face lit up and he asked me if I could tell him where she actually was. He wanted to call her as early as the next day.
“You know, I was so incredibly in love with this girl that when that letter came, it felt like my life was over. I never married. I guess I’ve always loved her.”
“Mr. Anderson. Come with me,” I said.
We took the elevator down to the third floor. The hallways were dark as we made our way up to Kerstin’s room. When we got closer, we saw she was laying alone, watching TV. The nurse walked carefully up to her.
“Kerstin,” she said simply, pointing to John, who stood a few meters away. “Do you know this man?”
Kerstin adjusted her glasses, looked at him for a few seconds, but didn’t say a word. Then, John said quietly, almost in a whisper: “Kerstin, it’s me, John. Do you remember me?”
She gasped. “… John? No! I can’t believe it! John! Is that you? My John!?”
He walked slowly towards her, and when they were close, he took her into his arms. We all left the room with tears streaming down our faces.
“Isn’t this amazing? As they say, if something is meant to happen, it always does at the end. No matter how long it takes,” I said.
About three weeks later, I got a call at my office from the nursing home.
“Are you free on Sunday to attend a wedding? John and Kerstin have decided to get married,” the nurse told me.
Naturally, I said yes! It was just a beautiful wedding, with residents of the nursing home in their best clothes for the couple’s special day. Kerstin glowed in a light dress, and John stood proudly behind her in a dark blue suit. I was honored to be his best man.
Following their marriage, the couple moved into a communal apartment at the retirement home. There, the 76-year-old bride and 79-year-old groom acted just as if they were teenagers, not missing out on a single second of a single day.
A perfect ending to a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years.
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