Billet doux – noun /bil-ay-DOO/ – A French word meaning a love letter.
“The only sadness is the living without you, without hearing the notes of your voice with its particular intimacies of inflection.” – Scott Fitzgerald to Zelda Fitzgerald, 1934.
“Goofy, my darling, hasn’t it been a lovely day? I woke up this morning and the sun was lying like a birthday parcel on my table so I opened it up and so many happy things went fluttering into the air; love to Doo-do and the remembered feel of our skins cool against each other in other mornings like a school mistress.” – Zelda Fitzgerald to Scott Fitzgerald, 1930.
I’m particularly in love with their love letters to each other. Much of the attention on their relationship has focused on the negative and erratic side, dwelling on Scott’s battle with alcoholism along with the highs and lows of his literary career and Zelda’s mental breakdown years later. But these letters show their devotion to each other are hauntingly romantic and passionate. Well-written love letters, for me, are the bomb.
It is evident in this particular letter, written just before their marriage, the extent of their devotion to each other.
Please, please don’t be so depressed — We’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever — and until we are, I am loving, loving every tiny minute of the day and night — Maybe you won’t understand this, but sometimes when I miss you most, it’s hardest to write — and you always know when I make myself — Just the ache of it all — and I can’t tell you. If we were together, you’d feel how strong it is — you’re so sweet when you’re melancholy. I love your sad tenderness — when I’ve hurt you — That’s one of the reasons I could never be sorry for our quarrels — and they bothered you so — Those dear, dear little fusses, when I always tried so hard to make you kiss and forget —
Scott — there’s nothing in all the world I want but you — and your precious love — All the material things are nothing. I’d just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence — because you’d soon love me less — and less — and I’d do anything — anything — to keep your heart for my own — I don’t want to live — I want to love first, and live incidentally — Why don’t you feel that I’m waiting — I’ll come to you, Lover, when you’re ready — Don’t don’t ever think of the things you can’t give me — You’ve trusted me with the dearest heart of all — and it’s so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had —
How can you think deliberately of life without me — If you should die — O Darling — darling Scott — It’d be like going blind. I know I would, too, — I’d have no purpose in life — just a pretty — decoration. Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered — and I was delivered to you — to be worn — I want you to wear me, like a watch — charm or a button hole boquet — to the world. And then, when we’re alone, I want to help — to know that you can’t do anything without me.”
— Zelda Sayre to Scott Fitzgerald
“It was wonderful to sit with her head on my shoulder for hours and feel as I always have, even now, closer to her than any other human being… And I wouldn’t mind a bit if in a few years Zelda and I could snuggle up together under a stone in some old graveyard here. That is really a happy thought and not melancholy at all.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald about Zelda Fitzgerald