My heart as an inkwell

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"More than kisses, letters mingle souls..." ~John Donne

Opening the mailbox to find a letter or a package addressed to me still ranks high in my top ten best ways to be surprised. This is why I find it extremely disheartening to know that letter writing has all but died off except in certain cases of writing soldiers or prisoners. E-mail is instantaneous and has made it possible for us to communicate, to anyone in the world, what used to take days or weeks. That's great if you need to send memos or other types of official correspondence (Did you get the TPS reports?). But what of deep, human connection? Who can hold an E-mail? Who can cherish it?

A letter is scattered with bits of the person who creates it. As if the composer carefully folds pages of their memories stained with ink from the well of their heart and seals it with the heat of their fingertips. E-mails come to your inbox while letters are received in the palms of your waiting hands. You can almost feel the letter pulsing within the envelope as you hold it before you, carefully pealing back its paper mouth. 

Never, in this day in age, did I think I'd experience this until I found another who treasured such simple pleasures. It was last year, in the heat of the summer, that Stephanie and I began what has become the most unbreakable and loving bond I have ever known. And how could it not have turned out so? Among so many things that attracted me to her, she spoke of names like Gibran and Nietzsche. Most people can't even pronounce Nietzsche. She introduced me to Rilke. She quoted Kerouac and I was hooked. As though Hemingway had fished me out of the lake and landed me upon Stephanie's dock. So, what would be more natural than two lovers of writers writing one another? 

E-mails would certainly not do, however. Try picturing Keats composing E-mails to Fanny Brawne on his iMac and you'll understand exactly where I'm coming from. If we wanted to share pieces of one another with each other, only ink and pulp would do. 

Every time the tip of my pen glides over the face of a page, I know that some bit of my being is contained within the curves and lines of my words. And, as I fold the pages of my letter evenly and seal them within the envelope, I know that they will be opened and looked upon as though it were my own eyes she were looking into. My own lips speaking the words recorded upon the paper.

I sit here tonight, opening and unfolding letters she has crafted and composed for me, and I feel as though the gentle loops of her handwriting spill out onto the bed next to me and construct her curves. The smell of her perfume still lingers upon the pages and fills my senses. And Stephanie is here next to me, speaking of memories, dreams, hopes and happiness. Before I fold it back into its envelope, I press my lips to hers and inhale that which she has sent over distances for me to hold.

These folded memories will stay with me forever. Never lost to the voids of cyber trash. Tucked neatly and safely away within an Oak box only after the scent of perfume fades and the beating heart of the writer remains.

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