Back in May, my old friend texted me to ask for my home address. I thought her gesture was odd at first so I asked her why. She told me that she’d post me something from Cambodia where she was vacationing with her family. Weeks passed, and her note completely slipped my mind. I forgot that I was to receive something until one afternoon, this arrived in my mailbox...
...a classic postcard! Who would’ve known? I’d never felt any more excited to receive something so tangible, so tactile, so concisely-written. To read something that doesn’t involve the digital was a pleasure. Her tiny notes had always been a delight to read. That girl’s a natural writer.
You see, we used to write letters to each other since childhood. I still keep a box full of our innocent correspondence, all of which carry the tales of our school woes, whatever we’d do after high school ends— all those plans and more. She ended up leaving for Tokyo after school, while I made my way to Michigan for studies. We stopped writing to one another once that happened. After all, there were instant messengers and other real-time substitutes. None of those beat the letters we sent, though. Here I was, holding a friendship that lasted close to two decades in my hand. It’s a different feeling altogether.
Letters are beautiful in theory— you get to exchange news, share your interests and pour your entire heart’s content to the beloved recipient. If done right, you can almost hear that person’s real voice in your head as you read. To think that letters are now more of a cultural artifact than an everyday object makes them even more special.
So how about we make it a point to a friend or any favorite person who’s living far away and exchange words via letters? It’s not immediate, perhaps a bit on the archaic side but it certainly is nostalgic and charming and more personal. Let’s just give Whatsapp a rest this week, shall we?