The hustle and bustle of daily activities; work, friends, family. And so it was in that August when I met Al for the first time. He left the day after our dinner date and I really believed that I would never hear from him again. Why would I? We had a nice time, he was fun and interesting…BUT he was an American and what was the point in pursuing something that would never work? At that time in my life I was footloose and fancy free. I had not long come out of a very traumatic relationship and was completely content to have fun and not be tied to anyone. I could even go so far as to say I was a little anti-man at the time. And so as the year went on and I didn’t hear anything he slipped from my mind. I had given him my information but never expected to ever hear or see him again. Well I was wrong. On Christmas Eve that year my Mum picked up the phone and then called me to say it was Al calling from the USA!! You can imagine I just about fell off my chair. We exchanged pleasantries and he explained that he had lost my information, but while packing for a trip to Miami to visit his grandmother he had come across the slip of paper with my information on it in his suitcase. I was skeptical but it was nice to hear from him. He wished me a Merry Christmas and told me that he had sent me something in the mail. Interesting!!! What was it? He told me it was a surprise. He said he would call if he got a chance and if not would it be ok to write to me? Of course…a handsome Cuban American pen pal…why not!
Sometime after Christmas and New Year a card arrived from Al and inside was a very delicate gold bracelet….Wow what a nice surprise. I must have made a good impression at least. In the coming months I started to receive letters and cards from Al. They were the most beautifully written, romantic, poetical things that I have ever read. I would write back, talking about my life, my insecurities, my doubts and he would write back words of encouragement and love. As time went on the writing between us became more intense and I began to always look forward to receiving them. The letters were also interspersed by phone calls that would sometimes last for hours (back in the 80s there were no international calling plans and poor Al was paying a fortune in phone bills), but nothing could compare with those letters.
I will write more about our romance over the miles, but for now I just wanted to reminisce on how special those communications were from Al and how I miss them. Don’t get me wrong. He still gives me beautiful cards and always writes something lovely inside but there was such an honesty and intensity in those letters that we wrote back then. So much so that I would tell you that I fell in love with him by mail. In this day and age where we all text and email regularly the personal touch of a letter is sorely missed by those of us who remember life pre internet/cell phone era. I encourage each and every one of you to pick up your pens and write your significant other a letter. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and just think what it would mean to them to have something so personal as your thoughts and feelings for them. Go for it…perhaps it will rekindle something forgotten.
Until next time…Blessings