I take “love letters” off the shelf, somewhat similarly to Derek Walton’s poem, “Love After Love.” Now, in the third act of my life, my moments with letters and cards reveal who I was once, who I am now, and a person I no longer know.
I like to think of my life as an examined one, less in the sense of Socrates and more in the ever present irony of what it means to be human. Pondering rhetorical questions is a longtime, favorite habit.
I suspect that’s why I keep notes, letters, cards. They are a moment captured. I can hold this moment in my hand and read it to remember. Sometimes I really do remember the moment; other times, sentiment is sufficient.
It is not hard for me to stay too long among these words–I get stuck–other times, a more thoughtful examination would have served me better.
Infrequently, these letters have a shelf life. I know the moment I begin to read. There is no ceremony, just a final remembrance, and then removal. Rarely is the moment bittersweet, emotion having left long ago.
Some letters will outlast me, I suspect. They are notes and cards that still reveal my life to me better than I ever could. Not all are easy to read–some are harder–even if the occasion was celebratory.
“Who can judge whether a life is worth living except the person who has lived it?” (Lola Shoneyin).