I was cleaning up one of my study drawers (because I was trying to find a piece of paper and could not find it, story of my life) when I happened on an envelope full of letters from my family when I was away at college.
They were lying there forgotten, having been dutifully carried as I moved from city to city, country to country.
Writing letters was a necessity then, phone calls were expensive and nobody had heard of the internet.
I held up the folded sheafs of paper filled with my dad’s neat handwriting, my aunt’s occasional scrawls and my sister’s quick scribbles and sifted through them one by one. A turn of phrase here, a word of love and longing there, scattered about in those aging pages. The letters smelt of home: of mum’s cooking, of dad’s garden, my sister’s hugs—they were all there, pressed within the folds of those precious letters, a sum-total of my teenage and youth.
I have moved on since then, I call my parents across the seas and exchange emails with my sister. But the exchanges float away in ether. As I grow old, I’m afraid I would have only the fragrance of these frail old letters to take me back to those times long gone.