I AM not sure if love letters are still in today but I grew up with such culture in my younger years. In fact I learned to articulate my thoughts in writing through the hundreds of love letters I wrote and attempted to write just to express my infatuations over someone. I even had to write them in those scented special paper.
I am sure people my age would have their shares of what I am talking about. But I think such practice has slowly diminished with the influx of technology. This time our young ones express themselves through songs and mobile texting. But I think love letters are not yet totally gone. In fact, while I was still a teacher a few years back I confiscated a love letter from a student.
Let me tell you one story. One morning while I was in the middle of my lecture on the implications of samurai culture to economic leadership (one of the most interesting topics in Asian studies), I noticed Joshua was busy writing something else in his chair. I rushed towards his seat and confiscated the piece of paper he hastily tried to put into his pocket.
Joshua was the class bully. He had the most records of misconduct in the prefect’s office. Breaking school rules was his hobby. In fact, he no longer shows remorse every time he gets caught red handed. But not that morning.
That morning was different. When I got hold of his piece of paper, his face just could not be painted. His eyes were begging for me to return it. There and then, I knew I had him literally on my hand. For the first time, I saw him very vulnerable. I crumpled the paper, put it in my pocket and continued my lecture as if nothing happened. From time to time I gazed on Joshua, and every time I looked at him, he was either anxiously looking at my pocket or into my eyes.
After our class, he blocked my way out, gave me a sorry look, yet speechless. So I asked, “Can I read it?” His faced changed from a sorry mode to a shock that I had asked such a thing, then to thinking about it, and then finally he smiled and said, “Sure sir.” So I took the paper from my pocket and started reading it. Halfway through I was having goose bumps, almost teary eyed, and was surely moved. Then I told him, “I didn’t know you can write.” he replied, “Neither did I.” I returned his letter with a condition that he gives me a copy of it.
This was what was on the crumpled paper:
Dear Rose (not her real name),
You came into my life when I was in my lowest low and when I needed you the most. You shared to me a lot of things that made me keep in touch with my own feelings. Before I realized it, you have completely changed my way of thinking; something I never thought would ever happen in my entire being.
I want to be always there for you when you need someone to talk to. I want to be the man who would comfort your soul. I want to be your strength. I want to love you in a way you truly deserve.
Somehow I need to ask for an apology. I know you were offended when I laughed at you when you shared to me your hobby. I did not intend to insult you. It was insensitive of me and I want to do whatever it takes to prove to you just how sorry I am. I know I have really hurt you with my careless remark last Saturday. I also know that sometimes words cannot heal as effectively as they hurt, but I hope you will accept an apology that comes from the bottom of my heart. I just hope that all we have shared in the past would help you to overlook my mistake.
I am counting, as I always do, on you to forgive me. Rose, I am SORRY!
Now, who says love letters are dead?
As for Joshua, he may have missed the details of the chivalry of the samurais, but he surely did not miss the lesson. In fact, he has learned it more than anyone in my class that morning. He was becoming a samurai himself, a true gentleman.