Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
* a work of fiction
He had just come from his grandfather’s house.
He was helping his mom go through his things when he found a trunk. It was old, worn and weathered, made from solid wood and leather. It was a nice trunk, but it was even nicer since it was unlocked, which would save him hours looking for the key.
Curiosity got the better of him and he started looking through it and before long he realized that it was a collection of letters.
The paper had yellowed with age but he recogized his grandfather's handwriting. Proud, graceful strokes of of ink, done with a fountain pen.
They were the letters he sent his grandmother after being drafted. He spent three years away from her and it looked like the old man wrote her every day. Thee were hundreds of letters and notes.
He looked through a handful of them. It was funny they barely sounded like his grandfather. The man in the letters was much nicer. He told his grandmother how much he missed her and how his heart ached. He told her about the things he'd seen and the danger he was in. Some of the letter's were redacted. The old man had spent hours and hours, probably perched over the letters by lantern light while in some fox hole in France.
He never would have pictured his grandfather as a young romantic. The man he knew was made out of scrap iron and leather. He was so tough if someone told him they saw the old man eating gravel he’d believe ’em.
After reading them for nearly an hour he put them back in the trunk. He hefted the old box and put it in his mom’s house. He have to organze them somehow. Maybe put them in a book so the whole family could see it.
He was watching TV later when his phone buzzed.
He checked his phone. One new like.
Someone liked some inane joke he made a week ago. He was putting his phone away when got curious. He pulled the phone back out and looked at the notification again.
He clicked on the profile.
Ha, she lived not far away.
He double clicked on the profile picture to make it larger.
He looked through her account. He’d never admit it but he clicked the media tab and looked. There were pictures of her and her friends.
He kept scrolling.
She’s funny, he thought.
He hemmed. He hawed. Going back and forth.
Then he did it. He hit the message button. He made a dumb joke about something he saw in her profile.
He put his phone away, and figured nothing would come of it.
An hour later he got a reply.
They talked through the night.
He didn’t hear from her after that for a couple days.
He had given up when three days later he got a message.
They talked again. All night long. They talked everyday.
Finally, one day she invited him to bar with some of her friends.
They met. And it was nearly instant love.
Weeks later she moved in. A year later they got engaged. The year after that they were at their wedding.
It was there he had to repeat several times as everyone wanted to know how they met.
He’d sheepishly tell people how one day he happened to check Twitter and his life changed.
Elsewhere a certain grandfather was looking down and thinking about all the letters he wrote, and all it took for his grandson was one little digital heart.
What a putz, the old man thought.
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