The book I was away researching last week involves reading a lot of letters. Hundreds of them. When she knew what I was going to be working on, writer Charlie Jordan suggested that I write one too.
Specifically, she suggested that I write a letter to my wife, Angela. Hand write and post it. In so many dozens of ways, that would fit the spirit of the book.
If it had merely been a good idea, I would've wished I'd thought of it. Instead, for all these other reasons, it was a perfect one – and so perfect that I ought to have thought of it.
When I'd get back to the hotel after a day in the archive, I would write some more and over the week, I ended up with a few pages. Let's not be coy here, it was a love letter.
And do you know what else it was?
It was a week ago.
I posted it first class last Friday and here we are, seven days later. Here's you, here's me, Angela is over there, and the letter is nowhere to be found.
I believe the phrase you're thinking of now is “you had one job…”
I've told Angela, I've told Charlie. I've told Royal Mail too and they said that, well, first class doesn't mean next day, you know. And also that I might be able to claim compensation.
There is a little bit of me that's curious about this. If, and it of course appears to be a rather sizeable if, I were to successfully claim for compensation, I don't know what that could be.
The cost of the stamp doesn't feel like it would cover it. Nor the envelope, the paper, not even the rather long time I spent writing it.
I try to think of what a first love letter in a decade is worth. And the only measure I can think of is preventative. I'll have to do this again, I'll have to handwrite another letter.
I won't have to post it, mind.