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Friday, January 25, 2008

Nothing beats the love letter


It was always a day to remember when you received a letter from a loved one! The silence, the waiting and finally the overwhelming joy when your name was read at the assembly to come for your letter -it was remarkable! You were a student at St Kaggwa High School, and she wrote from Bweranyangi Girls School.

That was back in the day when love letters ruled the world of relationships. A letter was a treasured asset, and a guy who received them often was king while he who rarely got was called zonto. If you couldn't hook a girl to write to you, so the boys argued, then you were better off becoming a woman and wearing skirts.

And those fascinating love letters came in handy to the shy guys. Writing that adorable missive was the best way to pour out your heart, to say what you couldn't say face to face with your girl.

In the letter you talked of her loveliness, of the sleepless nights you had thinking about her. In the best possible way, you conveyed the true feelings of the heart. She was your hot potato, and life would be drab without her.

"I just can't seem to find the words to express how I feel about you," you wrote. "I can only say that I love and love you from the deepest part of my heart, darling."

A fortnight or so later, the girl, obviously smitten, wrote back to say reading your letter made her feel like she was on a journey to paradise. You made her feel like no other, and you were her star. I wonder what I would do without you, she wrote, promising to love you till the end of time.

The letters told the story of two individuals at ease. She wrote about the "stinking school environment," the stress of books and how it pained her not to see you, be near you and touch you. In a flowery style synonymous with American romance novels, she added that she was yearning to be with you and ended her letter with a cartoon depicting a couple walking down the aisle and with a dedication such as Luther Vandross' Amazing Love!

How things have fallen apart! Too many cooks in form of modern technology have since spoiled the love broth. The era of SMS and e-mail has replaced the time when letters left a trail of heartbreak.

Today, boy doesn't even need to see girl, except when they want to make love. After all she's merely a phone call, an SMS, or e-mail away. If they feel fondness, they merely exchange stale love texts that have been making the rounds in cyberspace.

"I'm not wealthy, but I've a rich heart. I'm not the best, but I try my best. I may not be right in everything, but I am sure I was not wrong in having you as my LOVER," one such text reads.

Little wonder broken relationships are the fashion nowadays. Stories abound of lovers pouring acid on each other and marriages breaking up because the bond created by the intimate love letter is no more.

As Brenda, a university student, says, women like something they can document and hold on to and show off to their friends. The classic love letter fits that bill.

"The knowledge that my man can sit to write about my beauty and how lucky he was to find me, weakens my knees," she confessed. “Lovers should turn to scribbling love notes to each other to save their marriages because love letters are more romantic and more permanent than SMSs or e-mails."

Such is the letter Tess writes to her estranged husband Angel Clare, in Thomas Hardy's Tess d'Urbervilles. Angel cannot forget that letter. The poor girl had really poured out her heart. When he returns from Brazil, Angel takes the now crumpled letter from his pocket and reads it again before setting out on a journey to find his only true love.

This kind of brings back fond memories of piles of high school love letters in the corner of your suitcase, the letters you always whipped out when you were bored to lighten your soul -the beautiful envelope, a decorated piece of paper, tender handwriting and sweet words that made your heart ache with new love.

Think of the nights you sat at your table in your tranquil bedroom to write to your love. Of the soft music playing -perhaps Whitney Houston's I'll Always Love You -how lonely you felt, and how you wanted her. And you said all this in your letter to her. You also put sugar in the envelope, and perfumed the letter before you posted it the following day.

A love letter will always be treasured. You can bet your girl will read it over and over again and remember it and know that you still care even when the going gets rough.

So, be an affectionate lover and write that special person in your life a passionate letter. It could better be received than a dozen roses. It could rekindle the electricity of first love and save your relationship!

--Daily Monitor, October 26, 2006