The Joy of Text

I used to live on the island of Symi in Greece, where I taught the English language. Used to was back in the day before email and cell phones, when social media might have been defined as a party, gathering or lots of people all shouting down the same landline at once. Post was eagerly anticipated. In good weather, when the mail boat could make it in, the walk along the harbour was exciting. The subsequent trip to the post office could be, too. It could also be disappointing. On one particular occasion, I waited for what seemed forever for a letter I’d been promised. When it did arrive, it made my day. Here’s how…

The letter is lovely – I guess it should be as that’s how he makes a living. All the same, it goes into number one place for letter of the last three years, with Olga’s of February 1994 in at number two, and Maurizio’s of September 1991 at number three. In fact, the letter is so good that it’s intimidating, with its slightly too professional edge. I have to reply, of course. I have to reply having forgotten (it seems) any self-definition, let alone how to write a note, of any style, longer than four lines. Anyway, I have to, so that’s that.

The letter’s still intact, even after the Junior B class got the stamp and played with the pressed flowers inside the envelope. Even after my girlfriends have read through the text (thoroughly) and admired the English and admired the sentiments and admired the handwriting and identified the pressed flowers, the letter remains. In fact, it’s such a lovely letter that I carry it with me all day and am compelled to read it over, at regular intervals. It’s made my day.

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