He slid the note across the bar, then looked up at me. I picked up the small piece of paper and squinted in the dark.
“The people in this room are putting me in a bad mood. :( ” The note said.
I smiled and nodded my understanding back at him. I pulled out my pen and shot back: “Tell me about it. There are some tables tonight that are SO annoying!” By the time I finished writing, he had walked away to deal with a problem with the sound board, so I left the piece of paper on his clip-board and walked away, my words clinging in perpetuity to the small yellow note. I felt a little nervous about the ink laying open to any eyes. Rarely now do I long hand anything I mean to show… and to see my hand writing with the incriminating evidence of my dislike of the people I was serving, laying out on the table like a naked person, made me anxious. My co-worker walked back over to the note, glanced at it, smiled, then crumpled it up and threw it out.
Hand written words are rarer than ever, now. I look at the words I write in my journal and marvel at their uniqueness, each day being different. When looking at handwritten letters, I can glean a certain mood from the person who wrote the words down, like their DNA is also resting in the shape of the letter “Y” they wrote or that the way they spelled my name is an indication of their hope.
As if someone planned the evening with the subject: “Special Letters To You”, I got home and my boyfriend, Jackson, had a piece of mail waiting with both of our names on it. It was from New Zealand, where his family lives. “I didn’t open it because it has both our names on it.” He stated. “I think it’s from my parents.”
“You open it.” I said, when he handed the mail to me.
He tore open the envelope and revealed a hand written letter, penned by his mother. He read aloud. I stared at the words. This was such a treat! She took time to physically manifest her ideas to us. This letter took time to fly across the oceans and land here, in our bedroom, in New York City. The letter was very sweet, she mentioned how excited she was to meet me when I go visit in December, and wished us the best with the move. I touched the paper she had touched and felt like I knew her more than I thought I had when we met over Skype, for the first time, a few weeks ago.
Jackson held out the note and studied it. “We’ll need to keep this.” He said.
“Save it for an album!” I exclaimed, excited to have a physical piece of evidence to show someone, someday. I thought of all the electronic mementos I have and wondered how to make them special while still trapped inside a screen. “We’ll need to write her back.” I mused, already imagining what my signature would look like on the note, and wondering how long it would take to get back to New Zealand and what I would say. Times New Roman font wouldn’t be able to mask my right hand, and spell check wouldn’t be able to keep me on top of the grammatical errors I am sure to have.
The instant message I got earlier in the evening rang in my ears, and I suddenly wished I could have saved that note: a perfectly honest opinion of what the current event was, gone forever; no auto-save, no pictures, yet more of an impact than any text or whisper.
August 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm by Natalie Allen