These days summer holidays seem to herald a brief separation between my brother and sister-in-law Sassy Sue. With the kids back holidaying here while my brother returns to work by the sandy shores, Sue doesn't have much choice but to chaperon the juveniles. Of course with the availability of the internet everywhere, Sue was hoping for a more personal touch from my brother to keep the embers of their romance burning.
The tried and true bouquet of flowers perhaps or even a singing telegram? Maybe a sudden appearance at the balcony armed with a guitar and a trio of balladeers?
With the same heart, will answer and not wait.
Brother : What? I'm paying bills and you want me to write you a sonnet?
Sue : Oh yes! In fourteen lines please.
Lo and behold, my brother suddenly sent an urgent message adjuring her to check her e-mail. Surely such a pressing matter at midnight could only mean an affirmation of their decade-long marriage!
Seems my sister-in-law Sassy Sue leapt out of bed in her nightgown and rushed to the computer hoping for an impassioned letter vowing neverending love and commitment - only to be confronted disappointingly with a list of instructions written in point form.
Sue : The letter was written in point form!
Paul : Look closer, the message might have been encoded into the words. Maybe encrypted. Read every fourth word of every third line or something.
Sue : I tried it already.
Paul : Maybe he typed the sweet nothings in white text. Highlight the whole email and the code could be broken.
Sue : It wasn't even signed XOXO at the bottom!
Paul : Accept the bullet points as a sign of love! Count each and every one!
With my eminently pragmatic brother, I seriously doubt it though. Think a practical list of things-to-do would be closer to what he intended.
Obviously a man who proves his love through his actions. Not through words.
And I think I'd appreciate that even more. Like I said before, endless prose can just be a bunch of pretty saccharine-sweet words strung together without much meaning behind them. Adoring sonnets from the portuguese are all fine and good but surely that can't compare with the warm sweater when you shiver, that piping bowl of chicken soup when you're under the weather...
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Perhaps Eliza Doolittle could have said it better.
That said however, my brother could have just easily inserted an XOXO at the end :)