In high school, I got on a letter-writing kick. I joined a postcard exchange club that matched you with people in other countries; that’s how I was introduced to Moomin, because of a postcard I got from someone in Finland I never spoke to again. I wrote all my friends letters that they never returned because I’m forever sappy and have a thing for snail mail. It didn’t matter, really–I did it because I wanted to, not because I wanted to get something back.
I grew up between snail mail and cell phones. I didn’t have a cell phone until after I graduated, so we communicated through a mixture of AIM, handwritten notes, and face-to-face conversation. I still have a lot of those notes stored away somewhere. They’re probably not interesting to anybody but me, just as little relics of who I was in those moments, how I expressed myself, what was funny or moving or confusing to me.
One thing I don’t have is love letters. I never dated anybody in high school, and by the time I met my now-husband, we’d transitioned smoothly to cell phones and there was no reason to send him a letter, especially because we moved in together after six months. It’s probably for the best; I can’t imagine teenage Melissa’s love notes would be something I could look at without getting embarrassed.
Despite that, I have a fascination with love letters. One of the stories I’m working on now (something I had to put aside to finish The Compendium of Magical Beasts) is based on love letters–I wanted to play with words and how a relationship based mostly in written communication changes, especially when anybody might be watching.
Anyway, here’s a drabble, a short letter between the love interests of that story.
(n.) French billet for ticket and doux for sweet, gentle, or tender
A love letter.
I miss you.
I say the same thing in every letter, Lara. I say it when I’m asking where you’re patrolling next, whether you’ve eaten anything other than apples, how Rhys is doing, whether you’ve killed anyone. I must know; at the heart of every question is this statement—I miss you.
I accept that you’re doing big important work while I’m paraded around as a figurehead. I hear you tsking, reminding me that leading, too, is important. I miss that click of your tongue, so haughty, so ready to fight me, for me.
I miss you.
– Yours, always,