I fell in love with someone by post. Having met only few days before I returned to university 200 miles away and having no phone in my student house, letters were our only option. There was the excitement of hearing an envelope fall through the letterbox, the tingling anticipation to savour as I tried to delay opening it, and the perfect happiness of the first reading. But this was always followed by a disappointment of there not being more pages and a drop in spirits at the knowledge of a whole week to wait for the next, although the prospect of re-readings offered some comfort.
And his letters were lovely – a perfect combination of chatty news and romance. No wonder I fell in love.
At that time, I wrote and relied on letters a lot – mostly with my mum and my beloved Auntie Rene, who was somewhere between and something more than a best friend combined with a substitute grandmother. An occasional few lines from my dad were a treat. A friend at a different university and I used to commandeer friends to write groups letters to each other, even though no one but the two of us had ever met.
Over the years there have been notes left in children’s lunchboxes to boost their confidence, postcards sent to them at camp (always a competition for who received most in one week), and messages hidden in suitcases for when my man went away on business.
But I write few letters these days. With my own sons away, we rely on Facebook messages, mobile phones, and Skype to keep in touch. Once in a while I type them a long email, in an echo of the letters my mother wrote to me. But there can be similar precious moments of messages that can be re-read in a more modern form. Even this morning, I got a beautiful unexpected and long text from my eldest, thanking us for the support we’ve given him in finding a job. It’s the thought and the intention that matters, not the method of communication.
And as for the letter writer I fell in love with all those years, what happened to him? Well, dear Reader, I married him!
(Just a little bonus, which was serendipitously playing on the radio this morning as I drove to work)