There’s something about fairy tales that takes willing prisoners of intelligent people. You know it’s total hogwash. I mean, a princess with skin so delicate she could feel a pea through stacks and stacks of the softest feather mattresses! A prince with a kiss so magical, he woke a princess from a hundred year sleeping spell! Total hogwash! Totally enchanting. You read it and you want it to be true. Your left leg lifts and bends backwards of its own volition when your very own prince charming kisses you. Never you mind how far-far-away from charming or princely your chap actually is. It only matters that it bears similarity to a scene from ‘Long, long ago in a Kingdom far, far away…”
But enchanting as this all sounds, am not going anywhere near far-far-away…not tonight at least. Tonight, am going back to not-so-long-ago in a place not-so-far-away…
It all started as these things often do. With an old letter. The paper, although well preserved, was clearly from a different time. The handwriting, although neat and legible, was clearly not the work of quill. Dated 17thJune 2009 (which some people will have you believe is like a thousand years ago), it started out with a surprisingly modern salutation:
The Gals here have come up with an idea called ‘Back to the old school’. First off the blocks is letter writing.
You remember the greetings: How are you? How’s everyone? One would stop there before greeting all the neighbors, chickens and goats! ”
I’m not one to make a fuss of things, but this opening warmed my heart and damn well cracked open a window to an all but forgotten world. A world where people made an effort to check up on people. I’m not talking recycled memes posted from group to group until your poor Samsung Galaxy ‘something, something’ conks out of full memory syndrome. I’m not talking the IMs (Instant Miscommunication), or the LMAOs (am not really Laughing My Arse Off, am just saying that so you can Leave My Arse Out of your shit)
I’m talking whole words and whole sentences on whole fools caps – back to back. The whole nine yards, baby. The letter continues:
“For starters, we or you have gone silent…even our bi-monthly chats have gone cold. People say that long distance relationships are the hardest to maintain, and right now am kinda like in agreement. But, am not about to let go, lady. I’ll go back to the 80s and pull out one of the olden days communication techniques…”
OK…just a freaking minute! I feel like I should point out that the fellow writing this letter was born in the 80s. So was I. We do not – repeat – we do not refer to the 80s as the ‘olden days’. Only the 90s chaps do. Damn 90s chaps. Making us feel ancient just because we love 2pac, who by the way, was a huge hit in the 90s! Any who, the letter continues:
“You gotta know, I miss you. The IGC misses you and we know – well, we hope that you miss us too. I’m not kidding myself – the Martha I know can just walk into any room and makes friends without breaking a sweat and I bet you have quite a number. But come on, you gotta miss us too…”
The IGC was the Independent Girls Club. I don’t quite know what we did, but it was loads and loads of fun. As the name suggests, it was an all-girls club, right? Wrong. The fellow writing this letter was, for all intents and purposes, not a girl. He claimed the ‘G’ was for guys. Poor chap.
Other than the mild dissent over the group name, we were inseparable. We didn’t rock afros; we didn’t wear bellbottoms; we didn’t carry a boom box. We might as well have. For some crazy reason, we stood out. The other girls loathed us. The boys loved us. Not our fault. Not all the time anyway. But some people just could not take a joke! Jeez!
Like this April Fools day – that instant when the clock strikes 00:00…we slipped handwritten ‘secret admirer’ letters under the doors of the ‘hottest’ boys. The letters professed deep love and asked the readers to meet ‘me’ in the TV room where ‘I’ would be waiting because ‘I’ could not stand it any longer.
Then we sat in the TV room and waited. All six of us. With straight faces, we watched the room fill up with boys. We watched the eagerness on their faces turn to WTF expressions. Each of them was coming for a clandestine meeting of the hearts. They’d read those notes, missed a beat of their healthy hearts, crossed their fingers and prayed fervently
“I hope it’s her. I hope it’s her. Please let it be her!”
Then they walked in, took a double take and calmly sat down to watch the movie. Like who were they kidding? Who the heck wakes up at 00:05 to watch a movie? They kept glancing at us. (We were seated at the very back of the room. Exactly where the note said ‘I’ would be. Some of the boys must have seen ‘her’ in one of us. Some of them even came over and tried to explain their predicament.
“Yes, there was a girl here.” We told them “But she left as soon as we came in.”
Of course, the boys knew they had been had. They also knew that we were the culprits. They just couldn’t prove it.
The irony of it was that both sides had actual secret admirers. One on one discussions became the order of the day. The boys claimed they were ‘investigating’. Typical conversations went something like this:
“We know it was you girls.”
“Who is ‘we’?”
“I know it was you girls.”
“I prayed before I came upstairs.”
“Really? You prayed?”
“Yes. I hoped it was you.”
Now there’s a real life fairy tale. Or the stirrings of one.