Dear Mason, or, the love letter I never thought I would write

Katianna Mansfield

More stories from Katianna Mansfield

I am okay now
February 16, 2018

Dear Mason,

There is a list of things that I am not in this world.

I am not a chef: I burn water. I am not an athlete: the last sport I even attempted to play was track in middle school (I quit two weeks in, by the way). I am not healthy: mono owns my soul, my bedtime is 2 a.m., and my meal of choice is cookies. I am not a decision maker: yesterday it took me ten minutes to figure out that I wanted mashed potatoes, and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I am not a hater: there are probably murderers that I have hugged and told I appreciate them.

I am not domestic: I don’t know what it feels like to want to marry someone, have kids, and own a beautiful house in the suburbs. I have reiterated that time and time again to every soul that walks in my vicinity but not to you.

To you, my future is a blank canvas. I have no clue what I want to do, where I want to be, who I want to surround myself with, but I am open to anything. Even the domestics.

My mother told me, one day, someone would come along and right all my wrongs. They would flip my world upside down and give me a reason to believe in all the things I’d never believed in before. I’m not stupid; I am scared, and I am protecting myself like I always have because everything can change in an instant, but I have accepted that you are my game changer.

You walked into my IHOP on the worst day of my serving career, you sat down with your friends, and you gave me something to smile about. We talked about your friend’s workout beverages, the smell of his sweat, my kidney problems; it is probably one of the weirdest interactions I’ve ever had with a table. You tied a noose in your straw wrapper. You pulled a Lactaid pill out from under the temples of your glasses where you kept it. You wore your Taco Bell uniform, and you looked good in it. You didn’t seem nervous to talk to me, and the server/customer barrier didn’t get to you. You had an IHOP loyalty card. You paid for both of your friends. You had a Lake Trust debit card, which was one of the only card companies our machines didn’t accept, so I had to manually type all of your information into the system. Your little intricacies infiltrated my head, and I couldn’t get you out. So I did something that was new to me in its entirety, and I gave you my number. I mean, technically, I gave it to all three of you, but that’s not important. You gave me your number and your Snapchat and some stupid little note like “Mason- the best customer ever,” and I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the night. I keep your note and your noose in my server book and haven’t moved it since that terrible August Tuesday. I didn’t wipe down that table, not even when third shift showed up. I wanted the memory to stick as the boy who changed my world.

We went on a real date a few days later, and I watched you walk in the door in your blue Hawaiian shirt, just as nervous as I was, and sit down across from me for one of the most awkward “get to know you” dinners West of California. You paid for dinner despite me fighting you, and you genuinely looked shocked when I asked if you wanted to go to the park after. I didn’t want to stop talking to you, and I’m quite straightforward. We went to the park and talked about our childhoods and a lot of the things we’d been through, and I laughed because you have more of a middle-aged dad fashion style than any real father I know. Then you kissed me. I had a heart attack and an aneurysm at the same exact time, but the world went on because somehow we ended up at Walmart. We smelled the clearance candles, and I kept you close the entire time (partially because I was in a dress, and it was cold). We got in your car (and I tried not to scream when I found out you named her Tonya) and just drove. We talked for hours. We walked along a high school football field and laid in the grass of the farmlands, and I felt so much in such a short amount of time. You took me back to my car, and our night was over. It was 1 a.m., and we had met for dinner at 6.

I thought it couldn’t get better than that; that that was my five seconds of perfection.

But every day since that night, you’ve given me a new reason to smile. You’ve changed my whole world, and every morning that comes brings me hope. You have changed me for the better.

I know how to communicate efficiently. I put my peanut butter in the fridge. I brush my teeth in the shower. I rap in the car. I believe in the idea that tomorrow is a new day. I want to live, not just survive.

I am not a lot of things, Mason, but I am happy. And that is something I’m getting used to.


The IHOP Waitress