A Love Letter to Generation Text
Dear Generation Text,
Love letters are a dying medium, if not already dead. We live in an age where ardor is abbreviated into a single emoticon, where declarations of love are tweeted, where nothing is official until it is announced on Facebook.
My parents exchanged love letters. I have this image in my head of my father coaxing charcoal-colored words out of a rusty typewriter in foggy San Francisco. Discarded sheets lay crumpled at his feet. It takes about a week before the letter reaches Manila and finds its way into my mother’s mailbox (an actual mailbox, mind you, as email did not exist back in the early 80s). She cuts the envelope with her letter opener (oh, the gadgets one needed back then!). Out come 5 neatly folded sheets, perhaps a photograph or two. She reads the letter over and over again. She then sits down to write back in the round, heavy cursive distinctive of the Manila colegialas of yesteryear.
They made plans through these letters. As my mother was pregnant at that time, the name of their first child (yours truly) was discussed in this fashion. There were many phone calls, of course. But these letters were tangible, hard copy proof of their early years. Eventually my father tired of the distance. They decided to start a life together in Manila, which to my knowledge, put an end to the letter exchange. These letters now sit bundled together with old rubber bands, gathering dust in a drawer back home. My parents’ story is now documented in real time, in the beautiful, live exchange of their Everyday.
But still I long for the thrill of opening my mailbox and finding a handwritten something-of-the-sort. It need not be Shakesperean in content — my expectations are no longer that high. But just think…think of my lover penning even just a quick note, writing carefully and deliberately to make sure I would be able to decipher his penmanship. Of him nervously picturing my reaction in his head (I am, after all, a very nitpicky English major). Of the 86 cents spent on the Forever stamp, perhaps even the trip to the nearby drugstore or post office to purchase it. Of him tracking down the nearest drop-off mailbox. In this day and age, the mere effort of creating and sending that note is quite romantic in itself.
There is nothing so unromantic as the thought of my future children having to sift through an email inbox to see the letters that I am to exchange with their father (identity TBD). Something tells me I ought to print out these letters in case I lose the password to that account… Should I start taking screenshots of our text messages as well? Then again, there is always the “See Friendship” page on Facebook.
Sorry, kids. But there’s still some time. I’ll see what I can do.
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