It is close to three o’clock and as usual, I can’t sleep. Instead of tossing & turning as I often do, I decided to write to you.
I have been wondering about what it might have been like to be long distance lovers from say, seventy or eighty years ago. What if words on paper were our only link to one another? What if we were suddenly removed from our modern conveniences of telephones and mobiles, IMs and Facebook, texts, emails and messenger apps?
What if all we had between us were miles and miles of the world and nothing else?
I would write every day.
When there are few choices, one finds it easier to do what one must. Technology has murdered the romance of the written word. She is just a call away, we think, if I need to reach her I could. And so, we don’t. One day slips into another and before we know it we have lost touch. Back in those days, you knew by the absence of one letter, that something was amiss.
We would possess one single fading photograph of each other and it would be worth a treasure. We would plan our meeting weeks in advance and flavour our days with the short sweet bursts of intense pleasure the thought gave us.
We would live fully, with curiosity and remember to remember every detail because it gave us something to share; like how to avoid polyester (because the static gave you shocks each time you rang a doorbell), or how the rising scent of earth in pouring rain spelled stolen afternoons of lovemaking, or how resplendent the jacarandas looked in the February sun. And how I wish you were here to see this, my love. *Hemant wrote, ‘How your absence has unhinged the air…’ I know now what this means.
We would look at everything with new and inquisitive eyes and snap memories with blinks. Then we would develop the photographs we took with these eyes into words and send our alphabet-pictures to each other.
And then we would wait.
Soon, the tender longing begins again and to quell that pain, we would sit, pen with paper and write again. Just as I am doing now in the deep of the night, to you…
They always say that life was so much harder back then, but why does it feel that love was easier to make sense of?
Yes, I would write every day.
Not only would I write to tell you things but simply to share space with you, even if that space were A4 onion skin or canary yellow foolscape. A space in which I’d be certain that where my ink will flow, your fingers might run over. And in this gentle, silent way, we would hold hands across any distance.
*ref Hemant Mohapatra, ‘How It Adds Up’