Long love letters were a window to our lives
What follows is an excerpt from Nina London’s book, Love on the Turquoise Sea.
My ship, Explorer of the Seas, began sailing slowly away from the pier. I went to the dock to get a last look of Bermuda; the old stone clock tower, the palm trees and white boats.
I smiled and gently whispered in the air: “Bye, beautiful island! You gave me such an unexpected gift with Bill! I cannot wait to come back to both of you.”
It was time to go back to my work at the gallery on-board and get ready for a new art opening. I sat at my desk, turned on the computer, and opened my mail. My heart started beating fast; I got my first e-mail from Bill.
May 12, 2012
Subject: from Bermuda
I think of you travelling, always on the move, on the ocean that is so beautiful to me … going away to San Juan … then coming back here after hundreds of miles … a miracle in a way …”
Subject: from Explorer of the Seas
I still cannot believe how we connected from the first moment! I grew up in totalitarian and cold Siberia; you among the friendliness and pastels of Bermuda. I was figure-skating on frozen lakes; you were diving in the deep blue sea.
Now my life on the ship is fascinating, different, interesting even a bit surreal …”
I smiled into my camera, took a photo, and attached it to my reply.
I received this the next day:
You have beautiful eyes and a lovely smile! Thank you for the photo.
What a wonderful way you describe your five months on the ship.
Sometimes amazing chapters in our lives unfold around us and we don't notice how special they are. Perhaps we are caught up in our own unhappiness or uncertainty and cannot see how incredible the process of our journey through life actually is.
I think I am in one of those chapters now. This has been a time of strong adjustment for me; living on my own, looking to the mystery of the future. Yet, I remind myself that the world is just as beautiful as it has always been, that the waves on the beach where I took you are just as unique and perfect as always, that my daughter's laugh always brings a smile to me, that I feel strong and alive when I swim or dive, that I still find unexpected kindness in strangers, that a chance question from a beautiful woman can lead to a special afternoon and the beginning of deeper communication.”
That is how our correspondence started. We opened our love story with the traditional and almost lost art of writing letters. Now there are texts, but we wrote each other actual letters, descriptive, personal glimpses into each other’s lives.
We only saw each other when my ship stopped for a day in Bermuda. We couldn’t talk while I was at sea, so we took the time to reveal ourselves the way people have for hundreds of years: through long letters.
We opened this window to our lives and let the winds of hope blow freely. We trusted each other from the beginning. Within weeks of our first chance meeting our letters changed; it seemed layers of protection peeled away from each of us.
“I want to become a small and brave bird
to fly in the wind of my feelings
just to see you
Bill, you inspire me. I always love haiku but never tried to write it. Yesterday, I finally did.
Even now when we are not together, we write to each other every day. There are thousands of e-mails we wrote over ten years – loving, long, caring, hot, creative, supportive, interesting, inspiring, reflective, and funny. It is our wonderful ritual.
Bill has kept the first photo I sent him on the screen of his laptop for more than ten years.
Sometimes he shows it to me. "Do you remember?"
I always laugh: “How can I forget the day that changed my life for ever?”
Nina London is the founder of Mermaid Wellness Centre for Women and a certified Qigong and laughter yoga teacher. Her mission is to support and help cancer patients and survivors and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Contact her at www.ninalondon.com and on Instagram: mermaid_wellness