"In 2019, is anyone still writing love letters? I guess the emojis have taken over. It is game over, Mr Scribe.”
Once upon a time, outside post offices, and court houses, in the Middle East, a few desks were positioned, in an area with shade. A scribe sat on a chair with a pen, white sheets of paper, and envelopes, ready to write. The next step was to find customers.
These varied between ones who could not write because they were illiterate, and others who simply could not find the right words to express themselves, the latter group were mostly lovers who were seeking a romantic content that would set the heart of their beloved on fire.
So, it was not strange to find teachers and poets among the scribes, who were also looking for a few more coins to run their daily lives. I haven’t met a scribe, but a friend talked about an elderly neighbour who used to be one, he had so many stories to tell, that people looked forward to their next visit with him.
Of course the old man never mentioned the names of his customers, not even an indication about who they were, he swore not to share their secrets , but stories were there to be shared.
He talked about a mother who, for so many years sent letters to her son who went abroad searching for greener pastures, her letters were full of nostalgia, dearly missing him and pleading with him to come back, or at least reply to her letters. One day she got a reply and brought it to the scribe to read for her.
It wasn’t good news, a friend of her son informed her that her son was killed in an accident and buried there. At this point, the scribe looked at the frail, elderly woman and decided to read the letter to her, but not the one he received. Instead he made up a letter from her son, one full of glad tidings and hope for his return. This hope kept the elderly woman happy for the few remaining years of her life. Every story had its own ending.
One day, a young man deeply in love with a young woman came to the scribe to aid him with a letter that could express the wounds she caused to his heart, asking her to meet him. The letter was beautifully written, but instead fell in the hands of her father. Those days such expressions of love before marriage were taboo. The consequences were not good and the lovers never met again.
My friend told us that while the elderly scribe continued his storytelling, we became lost in his words, after a while we could not distinguish where the facts ended and the fairy tale started.
Fast forward to 2019, is anyone out there still writing love letters? I guess the emojis have taken over. It is game over Mr Scribe.