September 25, 1995
A month has passed since I’ve written, but it has seemed to pass much more slowly. Life passes by now like the scenery outside a car window. I breathe and eat and sleep as I always did, but there seems to be no great purpose in my life that required active participation on my part. I simply drift along like the messages I write you. I do not know where I am going or when I will get there.
Even work does not take the pain away. I may be diving for my own pleasure or showing others how to do so, but when I return to the shop, it seems empty without you. I stock and order as I always did, but even now, sometimes glance over my shoulder and write this note to you, I wonder when, or if, things like that will ever stop.
Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face—I know it is an impossibility, but I cannot help myself. My search for you is a never-ending quest that is doomed to fail. You and I had talked about what would happen if we were forced apart by circumstance, but I cannot keep the promise I made to you that night. I am sorry, my darling, but there will never be another to replace you. The words I whispered to you were folly, and I should have realized it then. You—and you alone—have always been the only thing I wanted, and now that you are gone, I have no desire to find another. Till death do us part, we whispered in the church, and I’ve come to believe that the words will ring true until the day finally comes when I, too, am taken from this world.
—Manuscript from Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks