Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Love Of The Past

When I was an ignorant teenager, not only did I not know I was ignorant but as a result, I failed to appreciate many things in my life. One of these was my first high school boyfriend. When I think of him now, sharpened through the lens of hindsight, I see a sweet, thoughtful, artistic gentleman. He brought me a single red rose every time he came to pick me up. He wrote me love letters on parchment paper and illustrated them with cliffs and castles, creating magical worlds for my imaginative mind and heart.

But I was so wrapped up in personal insecurity and fear of the world at large that, as much as he had to offer, I couldn't see beyond my own pitiful self to relate to him. I can't even remember sending him a single letter. When he finally broke up with me, via letter, every point he made about why he couldn't stay with me was valid and true. And seeing the truth about my ignorant self printed before me was too painful to bear, let alone read over and try to learn from. I threw out the letter and all the ones that had preceded it.

Ah, regret, how are you today? Always abysmal to see you.

Fast forward thirty-some-odd years. I'm now the proud mother of a sweet, thoughtful, artistic gentleman. He has a girlfriend, but he laments rarely getting to see her as they live a town apart. Though they speak on the phone, text and Skype with each other, these methods of communication lack the intimacy they can share when they're together. So I suggested Jacob write her a letter.

I gave him some nice stationery and an envelope. I told him of my long ago letter writer, his penmanship and drawings, which I can still see in my mind's eye.

"There's no limit to what you can write," I told him.

This was several days ago. Since then, he's been thinking, drafting and, until late last night, writing. This morning I mailed the letter, neatly addressed with a purposely placed, upside-down stamp.

Whatever may come for the young couple, I hope the letter's recipient values it for the novelty it is, even more so today than in my pre-email and cellphone teen years. I hope she will keep the letter (and any future missives) until she is older and wiser. Then I hope she will re-read them and recall with fondness their youth, innocence and intimacy. But most of all, I hope she will appreciate the rare and unique gift she received: a ticket to travel back to a sweeter time and place whenever she wants, one she can forever hold in her hands.