On rushing from the platform of Paddington station to the tube, a highly decorative piece of paper, torn from a notebook, languishing forlornly on the floor, caught my eye. I paused, then picked it up while everybody else walked on by.
It was a love letter.
A carefully crafted note, written in an elegant hand, by – I imagine, due to the wording – a young writer. It was a thing of beauty in a digital world. Thought and effort had been put into this lovingly created missive to their crush.
Breathless from the coarse wind rushing through my hair caused by an approaching tube, I clasped the letter tightly to my chest as the general chaos of the station unfolded around me.
Once on the tube, I looked at the note in my hand, a guilty gatecrasher, an intruder upon secret sentiment, an uninvited party to private penmanship, conscious that it was never intended for my eyes.
I wondered about the person who wrote it, I wondered about the person for whom it was intended, and I wondered how it came to be on the grubby floor of an underground passageway, a jewel amongst city grime. Was it discarded intentionally by the recipient, or was it innocently lost? Had it ever reached the person it was written for, or had it fallen from a pocket or bag before the opportunity to pass it on arose? Will true feelings ever been known?
I felt reassured that the written word isn’t lost, and that love can still be expressed by the pen in such a beautiful, poetic, tangible way, instead of a two-dimensional cyber message. It was a touching moment in a city whose inhabitants are notoriously bad at eye contact.
I remembered the last love letter that I received, in March 2020, written in my notebook when I wasn’t looking. The tenderest words in his best handwriting that I still keep in the drawer next to my bed.
It’s really brave to express feelings when you’re not sure what the response will be, and I hope while the letter is lost that the love is not, and that a happy ever after is enjoyed.