READER REPORT:

The modern love letters

DEBBIE MCCASH
Last updated 07:11 03/12/2012

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The biggest romance of my life began in the most humblest of ways, with a simple text message.

But what followed caused many shakes of heads, and has been described as unfathomable to anyone who now knows of our love.

This is the story of what we now refer to as The Book.

We had known each other for some years, having what most would call a somewhat adversarial relationship. A working friendship, but not particularly aggressive or acrimonious. I suppose the best description would be intellectually challenging. So it was a big surprise to find a message on my phone from him some 18 months after I had relocated to another city for further education.

During the following week the text repartee began, and dabbled into all things life, philosophical and relationship. All at once, and completely out of left field, I realised I had been totally swept away into a new romance.

About ten days into our conversations, and in response to one text about going for a walk and the weather holding, he sent me a small section of verse, simple but pretty: "If the weather holds me in its arms, if the lemon light touches my cheek".

All my butterflies had flown at once. I loved the piece so much I wrote it down and pinned it to the wall.

After looking at the verse for a few days, and reading the ensuing text messages, which were now coming thick and fast, I then decided to keep all of his messages. How could I possibly throw any of those wonderful words away? But when your phone only has a small memory, it became abundantly clear there was going to be storage issues. The only solution was to write his messages down, or transcribe them onto the computer.

Now this is where it becomes more interesting, in that unbeknown to me, and at exactly the same time, he was writing my messages down. There we were, two completely hopeless romantics, totally independently writing down our endless love texts.

It wasn’t until about three weeks later we finally discovered that we had both been doing the same thing. By this time I had already started putting them all together and making the love conversation, which to use a very old fashioned term, was our courtship.

And so began The Book.

All in all, during the 18 months we were apart, we both worked on keeping and updating The Book. A total of 279 typed pages of text messages, sometimes up to 30 a day, all dutifully recorded in chronological sequence.

In an age where love letters have been mostly squashed into obscurity by the immediateness of technology, I can guarantee not many people can say they have a diarised record of their romance - their own Love Book.

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