A Letter to Esther

writing

Once, scaling the rocks of Mt Kenya on an unforgettable adventure gazing at the austere beauty of the steep rocky valleys, you said to me that back in high school no one ever wrote a letter to you. This random prodigious memory just raced aimlessly until my thoughts settled with a startling clarity with only one course of action available, write to you a letter.

I used to write letters back then. Not that I was a high school girls’ connoisseur but if I wrote any more letters then my grade would have been a weak B or worse a C. If I wrote any less then I would definitely have got an A. Actually I am just kidding, I was quite in the game back then, good old days. So I consider myself inept to brief you on how it used to be back then.

Writing a letter back then was a sacred ritual. It all started with an occasional write to a high school girlfriend to debilitating quantities of writing more letters. First you needed finances to write a letter, an white envelope of about ten shillings, two flower-edged writing pads, an artist to draw calligraphy letters on the envelope, I was not an artist so that cost me around fifty shillings. David (Davi) was the guy who used to draw calligraphy on envelops and that guy was a real maven. You needed stamps too which also summed up to an average of fifty shillings. Lastly and most important, if you did not know how to write you needed a writer, someone who could transform words into sweet music irresistible to the ear. That was my part.

Whenever I started drawing letters on a piece of paper the zone took over, pronouncing each word slowly as I wrote and deliberately giving the words reverential respect. In the middle I was accustomed to crises and invariably handled them in a calm and efficient manner which involved tearing up the writing pad and starting on a fresh, ten more shillings into the cart. I would combine all the scenes from all the telenovellas I had ever watched. The Promise and The Long Wait to be precise. I would promise that after the long wait of one term, which was three months, we would finally be together. One thing that was true though was the entirely forthcoming determination to impress the receiver of the letter with melodramatic tales.

Now, Esther, there is one annoying thing you should know about these letters, the handlers were mean. They never attached the same value when taking the letters from point A to point B. The lecturers would tear them apart trying to look for imaginary terrorism equipment, the post boys and girls would smear dirt on the envelopes without a shred of remorse, but still no one could ever render to ash the words of the letter, they remained sacred and captivating. What I never understand though was why I replaced ‘P.O BOX’ with words like baltex.

After all this, now it was time to wait for the replies. My high school naysayers might argue that I never got as much replies as the letters I sent but then they would just be hating. So, you know of that period after three months of absence of rain and it is finally April, the clouds are pregnant with precipitation. An atmosphere of restless anticipation permeates the countryside. The farmers of Central Kenya chat with hidden excitement as they wait the heavens to cleanse their dusty farms and souls with cold refreshing drops of love from up high. So they wake up early till their gardens and make haste before the rain gets them off-guard. But somehow the rain is always early. It rains drop after drop making tiny potholes on the dusty ground. Finally it is silent now, the air is unusually clean and fresh cleansed by the brief heavy debut rainfall.

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To be totally honest, the replies always disappointed me. One of these two happened, either there was no reply or the reply was vague and shallow. We would read the replies as crowds and I would stare at the writing pad with menacing eyes, a humorless grin on my confounded face. But this would barely stop me from writing more and more, perhaps in hope that the readers would pick a leaf or two. Writing letters had taken on a monumental significance all through my high school life. If I had known you then Esther, then probably you would be the one telling this story.

My letters were a gift from nature with a fragrance of AXE deodorant. At the terminus of one of my first letters I once quoted a Bible verse and never got a reply so I resolved to quoting music lines and it always worked. All I am saying is that I am well aware of a little Dennis writing some nice words to a lovely lady out there and my advice to him Esther is that he should not stop. Keep writing until the words and you are one with a secret language concealed from outsiders, it got me a career after all.

I hope this letter finds you in good condition and a welcoming mood.

The writer.

Dennis Peters
Dennis Peters

Author: Dennis Peters

When I was I younger, my mother told me not to do drugs. She said something about addiction and it sounded so distant. I never did drugs, instead, I read and wrote and I still got addicted. Now I am here, and you are here too because we have to be here and there is nothing we can do about it. | ©Dennis Peters.

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