Note: The original version of this lesbian love story appeared in “Out Magazine,” 1996, under the title “Love Mail: Ana B. Good shares a tale of soft hearts and hard drives.”
It’s a true romantic tale with a happy ending, a relationship that has flowered into a twenty-four year lesbian romance. Words can lead to love. It’s one great reason why I write.
Nothing is sexier than a letter. Letters contain sealed confessions: words and desires meant for the recipient’s eyes only.
A year ago I fell in love with a woman I had never seen. Letter writing (via email) had everything to do with this.
I was leading a quiet writer’s life, happily holed up in my apartment. I was far enough out of my last lesbian relationship to accept that I’d never be mated again, and rather happy about the whole thing. I had sworn off dating for good this time. I’d be a career woman. Married to a hot pot of Peet’s coffee and my own silent words.
Besides, I was up to my neck in work. How would I ever meet up with Romance unless she came to my doorstep as a a phone repair woman for Pacific Bell? (Don’t think I didn’t fantasize about it. The toolbelt thing, you know.)
Then I began using an on-line computer service for my work. I found myself compulsively browsing a bulletin board late at night where lesbians from across the nation left wordy little come-ons.
“Uh-oh,” proclaimed the inveterate letter writer in me. “Meet a woman through words?” That appealed to me.
I posted a short note, an innocent tease looking for a a woman in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I then lived, to come quaff coffee and terrorize bookstores with me.
In response I received some decidedly hot epistles, along with a passel of safely flirtatious invitations. One message spoke to me. Titled “Is Coffee All You Really Want?, it was sent by Ms. New York.
I wrote back immediately: “Yes–there are things I might want from you besides coffee. Can you imagine what those things might be?”
“You want me to imagine it?” quipped Ms. New York in her next electronic note. “Well far be it from me to hold out on you, my dear …”
We exchanged letters daily, each epistle growing in length and exploratory tactics. We chatted a great deal, throwing out comments designed to elicit the answers to ever more serious questions, like, Hey are you the kind of woman I could trust with our checkbook?
After two weeks we were meeting online in “private” chat rooms where we could converse outside the reach of prying eyes.
We quickly abandoned the use of capital letters and proper punctuation which requires 10 fingers on the keyboard at all times.
“Are you using both hands?” I asked her at last.
“Not to type,” she retorted.
A month later I was in a horrible state. This woman was making love to my mind from 2,500 miles away, and my body desperately wanted in on it.
I knew she was on the same insane edge of desire when her emails were whooshed to me at 3 a.m. And this woman had a respectable day job, mind you.
I’d always been fond of my Macintosh, but now we had a Pavlovian connection. I wanted to turn my computer upside down and shake her out of the hard drive.
When I confessed this to Ms. New York, she said that if she did come tumbling out I should let her know immediately because she would not mind landing in my lap.
She punctuated this with an e-wink ;>.
In the second month we advanced to telephone conversations. We exchanged equally bad photos of each other and complemented email with handwritten cards and gifts. I was delighted to have her handwriting. There was something wickedly promising about the way she looped her Y’s.
I was a goner.
Old friends (and my therapist) began speaking to me in softer tones. My need for “distance” in romantic relationships was notoriously well known, but wasn’t 2,500 miles a bit past the neurotic marker?
I wondered sometimes myself.
In the third month Ms. New York and I agreed that we had to meet in our physical forms — either that or slide right off insanity’s edge together.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to get our bodies involved in this?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” she panted.
She: “I’ll come to San Francisco Christmas break.”
“I’ll lay in provisions,” I emailed back.
We had 10 days together and would have welcomed an infinite extension. Naked to each other, our respective hardware stripped away, the electricity still surged between us. We were amazingly compatible.
It’s been more than a year since our first real kiss. We still send furtive emails across the continent. Every two months we abandon our computer stations in favor of each others’ arms.
Love letters are wonderful, but my favorite love letters nowadays are those I can deliver to her with a personal touch.
Ana B Good is the author of The Big Sugarbush, a lesbian romantic comedy. Order BOOK NOW in print OR Ebook format.
Note: Flash forward from 1993 to 2016. We’ve still together, dears. We rented a U-Haul, merged, and moved to Vermont after road-tripping the USA in search of a safe and friendly nest. How’s that for the power of romantic love letters? These days we send love texts: shorter, sweeter, but I confess it’s still exciting to hear the phone ding out her love for me. And yes, we are wearing dog house slippers. We’re those kinds of dykes.