Some years ago a young lady wrote me love letters. The letters weren’t confessions of her love: they were just mail exchanged between friends (me and her) for years. It took a while for them to feel like love letters but when they did I became fanatical with my mail.
The envelope was precious glass: fragile, beautiful, and elegant. I could tell who it was by the handwriting and immediately would feel my heart in my throat. Greedily, I would quickly hide the precious letter in a book, scurry into my house, find some hidden corner and carefully read all six pages from front to back and over again. One time, with a shaking hand, a hopping heart and a pulse daring to take off, I read a specific turn of phrase which openly invited someone (like me) to become a special friend.
For days I would reread the letters. I’d pore over the words she used or the turn of phrase or the way the sentences were put together or the implication in a specific paragraph. Was she inviting me to ask her out in this section? It seems like she might be by the way she spoke about memories of hanging out. How would I respond? What would I say?
I never read her letters like a newspaper. You know how you read the first paragraph, get the main point of the story and then go through the rest getting a few bits of details, maybe to share over lunch with your friends? I also didn’t read it like a Wikipedia article: she was doing such and such, she said this and that and finally added that I should write back soon, good bye. I had vested interest in her letters and I wanted to make sure I got the point lest I suffer some tremendous embarrassment.
Oh then how I agonized over my responses. Was I assuming too much when I wrote this specific sentence? Was it ambiguous enough that I could back out of it if she called me on it? Do I want it to be this ambiguous? Isn’t the point to try to get her to be my girlfriend?
Each word was carefully chosen, each sentence painfully crafted, each paragraph built to convey meaning and the letter functioning as a whole within the context of that specific letter. I never wanted her to read too much into what she shouldn’t and always wanted her to read what I was saying and come to terms with it. Act on it. I wanted to convey meaning and never misunderstanding.
I wanted her to understand Me, to know Me and she definitely wanted me to understand Her and know Her.
We understood each other: we eventually got married.
Someone smarter than me, in a similair example, once said “The books of the Bible are God’s love letters to Mankind.”