When I was a kid, I hit a phase when I wanted a pen pal.
Maybe I was intrigued with the possibility of communication with a person somewhere in the wide world beyond the limits of the map dot I call home.
I was still young enough to get mail sent by someone who didn’t want my money so maybe it was the childish thrill of a letter addressed to me and hidden, like a surprise, in the mailbox.
I don’t remember exactly how I achieved my goal to get a pen pal, but I did.
Her name was Nancy. I remember her last name, too, but I won’t post it here.
There’s a good chance it’s different now, anyway.
Years have passed, and erased the exact words she wrote from my mind.
She’s still there, but only in vague memories.
She was nice. If I were to judge by the tone of her letters, she seemed happy.
I think Nancy used a wheelchair because she had cerebral palsy, too, and at the time she was probably the only other person I knew by more than name who lived with it.
Her picture came enclosed in one of her letters.
She had long, brown hair.
I thought she was pretty.
We wrote for a while, but the letters became less frequent and finally stopped.
A while ago I thought I’d send another one, just to see if there’d be a reply, but I lost the old envelope where she’d written her return address.
I haven’t handwritten many letters since my time as a pen pal ended.
The only ones I’ve scrawled in my own hand are those with special messages I felt needed the time, effort and thoughtfulness the lost art of the written letter requires.
I’ve put several on paper, delivered two and hid the rest.
If I’m honest I’m not sure where I hid one of them, and I’m not sure any of the hidden ones will ever see the light of day.
I delivered one I wrote while I sat in my truck outside of a high school I did not attend at a time when I thought there was no way the sun would rise the next day.
I felt like my life had ripped at the seams.
The sun did come up, and all of these years later I remember just how cathartic it is to put pen to paper when your heart insists your world is torn to tatters.
Time taught me my world was still whole at its own pace, as it so often does.
Modern technology has almost turned handwritten letters into relics from a bygone era, like childhood, when nobody who sent me mail wanted my money.
It’s nice to think about. It’d be nice to relive, even for just a day.
Hey, Nancy, if you happen to find an old envelope with my name and address on it, feel free to send a letter.
This post is a response to Sue’s prompt, which is “letter.”