When I moved to Texas last summer, I did more than a normal pre-moving clean. I basically preformed a possession overhaul as I was on a pretty tight space budget. Even though I enjoy getting rid of stuff, I still manage to accumulate so much excess! I blame it on being an artist. So much inspires me that I feel that I have to keep it around. Fortunately, as I get older I am loosing that need and am learning to not accumulate so much to begin with and to not hold on to too much stuff for pseudo sentimental reasons.
One of the items I let go was a box of love letters. I had a shoe box tied with string of all of the love letters and little endearing notes from boyfriends as far back as the 10th grade to all the way up past my ex husband to within the last few years. I have always kept it stashed away, transporting it from the back of one closet to the next with each move. This time while packing I decided to open it up and sort through it...kind of like visiting a time capsule of past loves. It was beautiful and sweet to read all of the sentiments but at the same time I knew that I never wanted to read through those letters again. Some things should remain in your memories and to read the powerful and passionate emotions from as long as 18 years ago from boys who have grown into men you no longer know anything about was kind of...creepy? Perhaps if we were still together and in love than it would be a wonderful trip down memory lane, but this just felt kind of weird. So into trash they went.
Looking through that box did make me nostalgic for the time before email though, when in order to communicate you had to use a land line. In boarding school, the dorms had one pay phone and if it rang and no one was around, you had no idea you had missed a call, you also had to wait in line at night to use it and sometime ran out of time. This meant that we sort of had no choice but to write letters, it was truly the most reliable of form of communication throughout those 4 years. As much as I enjoy the instant gratification of cell phones, I find myself missing the anticipation that used to come with checking the mail.
Which brings me to a few months ago...when Adam and I began another stint of living apart, this time for close to 6 months. As we began our relationship this way, it's not so bad...we see each other more often during this stretch than we did living apart last year. I've also been realizing that this arrangement is not that uncommon due to couples dealing with work or grad school opportunities, and it's nice to know that we're not alone. In discussing how we would deal with this situation, we decided that during this time apart that we would write letters to each other to keep the romance alive. Side note: It's interesting how differently we approach our letters, although I won't go into that now as I realized while writing this that it would make a fantastic
My point here is that letter writing and especially love letters, is an incredibly romantic gesture that should not be lost to the digital age. The phone calls, texts and even time together don't usually result in your sitting quietly while pondering how much or why you love someone. You are not only forced to sit down and put your emotions into words, but as weeks go by and the stack of letters increases, your ability to eloquently do so increases as well. Sure we both have tired and uninspired nights where all we can do is recount our day (or not write all...ahem, Adam), but more often than not we end up sharing thoughts or feelings which we would never get around to if we were next to one another day after day. When we spoke on the phone last night, Adam was almost more excited for me to receive the gushing love letter* he wrote to me a few nights ago than he was about seeing me on Sunday.
I'm sure when we are back to living under the same roof that our letters will quickly recede into the past and spend the rest of their days in a shoe box in the back of the closet. But for now, we each keep the growing stacks of envelopes by our beds and catch our breath when we see a new envelope in the mailbox.
* It arrived this morning and it's beautiful. Between the two of us, I've noticed that I write with more intensity whereas Adam has begun to achieve an incredible level of poetry in his letters, I cherish them so.