Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Write Stuff

When Herb and I were first dating, we did a lot of e-mailing, even though we were seeing each other in person often. Three weeks after we started dating, he went to Oregon for nearly a week and the e-mails we exchanged while he was gone became more personal and soul-baring. We discussed emotionally charged topics that may have been much more difficult to talk about face-to-face. We felt free to express our deepest thoughts and feelings, our hopes and fears, our pasts and our futures. It was one of the things that drew us so close together so quickly. We even compared our love letters to the eloquent correspondence of John and Abigail Adams.

In the early weeks and months of our marriage, we continued the writing tradition. He would e-mail me from work to say how much he was looking forward to seeing me at dinnertime; I would e-mail him with hints about what I'd be wearing and how I would do my hair that night. Sometimes our exchanges were fun and flirtatious, sometimes serious and devoted, but always heartfelt.

Over the months, the frequency of those little personal notes dwindled. But we both still sent them every now and then, and their sporadic nature actually made them even more precious and treasured. So this past weekend, when Herb was away for a few days, we resurrected our e-mail tradition. And even better than that, Herb had hidden a gift and a hand-written card for me for each day he was gone, and told me in an e-mail each morning where the next one was hidden. Not only were the cards he chose sweet and perfect in their sentiments, but the personal note in his beautiful handwriting touched my heart every morning.

But above and beyond that personal touch, he managed to find time every day to send me a long, thoughtful e-mail telling me he was thinking about me and how much he missed me. We spoke to each other on the phone several times a day and even manages a videoconference, but his written notes were like a secret whisper in my ear meant for only me.

Maybe it's because there's a certain level of trust in placing a tangible expression of intimate thoughts in another's hands. There's no lingering proof of what was said in a phone call, no way for someone to accidentally stumble across a previous Skype conversation. But the written word can be treasured and savored over and over, it can be tucked away in a safe place for the reader to return to again and again, it can be hidden in a secret trove, never to be seen by any but the receiver.

Love letters are, indeed, the write stuff.

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