My husband and I met, briefly, in 2002, and for the following nine months we wrote each other letters, our courtship unfolding through words on a page. Or rather, the very first letter was on a page, an actual page written on with a pen and mailed with a stamp, though the subsequent letters were all sent via email. But they were long, thought-out documents with days or a week in between each as we took our time composing and responding, carefully unveiling ourselves to each other. I'm embarrassed to reread some of them, at the vulnerability I expressed so early on through the safety of written words. I didn't have internet access and had to save mine on a disk and bring them to the computer lab at my university. Over those nine months I fell in love with his words, and with him.
He is an actor. I am a writer. Throughout our relationship we have been frequently separated by his work, my schooling, our different nationalities. We have never returned to that intense period of letter-writing--Skype is generally the long distance relationship tool of choice--although occasionally, beautifully, one of us will send a missive that reminds us of those days. The connection, the expression, the love in time taken to write out here is how I am feeling about you. Here is what I have been thinking. How do you feel? What do you think?
One Christmas after we'd been together 8 years, I compiled all the letters and had them printed and bound in a book with a title taken from one of his early letters: I Hear Your Voice So Clearly...
Anton Chekhov and his wife Olga wrote letters. He was a writer, she was an actress. They were frequently separated by her work, his health. Their love story unfolds in these letters. The play based on these letters is called I Take Your Hand in Mine...
My husband is currently playing Chekhov in this play.
It's a sort of literary romance, and you can see it April 1-4 at the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto.