Signed, Stamped and Delivered: The Lost Art of Postcards

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Keeping touch with friends is easier than ever. And yet, at times it feels impossible. A text is almost too easy to send, too easy to receive, to carry the gravitas often needed when expressing love or gratitude to another.

Before we know it, it’s weeks and months of silence. You look at your chat and you see the two ticks. Sometimes it’s their end, other times it’s yours. And you ask yourself how the friendship got to a point of unread messages or such delayed responses.

From under our noses, life becomes complicated — full of obligation and duty to ‘get by’, or if we’re so inclined, make something of ourselves. I’m guilty of it as much as the next man. And only now that time has slowed a little am I able to feel the chasm of time, space, and touch between me and my brothers.

So, I’ve started to write postcards again. Signed, stamped, and delivered from one corner of the earth to another. It’s a lost art, really, like patience. Yes, it would be easier to text, but it’s not enough.

Every written word of unreadable handwriting. Every crammed phrase in the bottom corner of a box. Every cliche photograph slapped on the front. I want it this way because I want them to know I thought of them — alone in an alien city; at home in a foreign land — and felt so compelled to go through the trouble of finding a postcard, tracking down a post office, and buying stamps in foreign currency to send it.

It’s more of a declaration than something to spark conversation or hear anything back. More of a confession of my exposed being than a humorous GIF I found on the gram to articulate similar sentiment.

My core reason being that I was once here as they were once there. Sometimes thousands of miles apart. This ink as evidence of our timeless bond and my eternal gratitude to call them a friend, and on the odd occasion, send them a postcard.

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