“How’s that letter coming along darling?”

28 mei, 2011 § Een reactie plaatsen

At the age of sixteen, I wrote letters. Huge piles of letters…   I’m not sure what I loved more. The folding of the pages after having finished. Writing the envelope. Posting it. Writing down in my admin: sent! Receiving the letters. Feeling the crispy, blue envelopes with all those exciting different kinds of handwriting and all sorts of stamps: I loved it all.

Every day when I came home from school, I would ask the same question: “Is there mail?” And yes, I mean the aforementioned slow kind, the one that actually travels, rather than whizzes across the world within seconds. For sure, most days there would be a letter or two from Japan, Morocco, France, Germany, the Netherlands.

CC / RaeBerlin

One day, for some reason, I got home and didn’t ask The Question. I think it had been so freakingly quiet in my then-offline-inbox, I simply didn’t dare. A few minutes past. And then some. My mum put a tea on the table for both my brother and me. All the while he just stared at me. Looking grumpier every passing minute. At last, my normally so cool brother grabbed the letter he’d sat on for so long and threw it on the table: “Every day you ask for letters, and not today?”

I felt so sorry I ruined his moment, I hardly enjoyed the piece of writing.

The letters that I loved the most, were the ones written by my French pen pal Thibaut. I think we got in contact via a pen pal club in Dublin. You’d write them a letter with some info, you’d get three addresses with some info in return. A whole new world about to visit on your doorstep. Thibaut was a true pen pal: he actually wrote. And kept writing. More and more often. Longer and longer letters. At one point, I got one that all but bursted from the envelope. Once I got it out, I had no clue how he had gotten it in: impossible. Pages and pages of handwritten stories, answers and questions.

In the online world, April 2010, we met again. But but it just wasn’t quite the same. Only recently, Thibaut and I have decided we’re going to be pen pals again. “How’s that letter coming along darling?” he wrote on Facebook the other day. Well, it’s almost on its way, dear friend! So you snails out there: there will be letters to deliver. Proper handwritten letters. With stains and smells and stamps. Offline reacquainting online going old school!

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