I stepped outside, and the leaves were on fire. It shocked me. Was it because of the hotness of his broad body that made it happen?
Late 80s were my unforgettable years when I studied in college at the same time looking for someone as my pen pal. The internet was not existing that time, so the only thing I did was to write to Jordan who lived in Georgia. My uncle who was an immigrant gave me his address. He was his colleague.
I received a long-distance call coming from him and asked me if I wanted a pal from there. I was such an innocent gal, but eager to explore to boost my confidence and knowledge in an English literature course, so I said yes. I knew that it would help a lot through writing letters for him.
At first, I didn't know how to start it because I was writing stuff for a stranger who never knew me at all. My uncle didn't tell me that Jordan already knew my address, and he did already write a letter for me but I hadn't received it yet. It was like my thumb and index fingers refused to hold the pen, so I could have my epistle. I was not that fluent in English, so I took my one and old dictionary as my guide of correct spelling and vocabulary. My phalanges trembled because I was tensed and very much conscious of that day. There was something wrong maybe because I was not used to write something for someone that I'd never seen yet. I got scared, but my mind told me to go on. I continued, I stroke and stroke every word on the blank stationery paper. I had magically written it without even noticing that I almost finished. I read it again and read my grammar basic book of my subject-verb agreement was right, if it were not very shameful to send since I was a woman who made the first move because of that. "Gosh, this is insane! I actually said it while sealing the letter.
It was almost the end of August when someone knocked the door while I was in the living room watching the Saturday's noontime show on the very old model television. I slightly open the door, I saw a postman standing and wanted me to sign a paper because I had a priority mail. He left immediately after saying thanks to him. I was pretty much curious at the same time afraid to open it because there was no return address. I slowly tore the side part in it and peeped the last word below.
"Oh my golly, it's Jordan!"I was really astonished and couldn't believe in a couple of minutes."How did he know my address? My uncle didn't tell me this thing?"I was bewildered, but I still opened it and read the content. It said:
Have a good day.I know that this is so strange for you. This is actually my surprise for you as my new friend now though,you don't know me yet. Your uncle gave me your address. He is my friend not just an officemate. I am interested to know you that's why I'm writing this. Hopefully, you won't get mad at me.
I'm Jordan, living here as well in Georgia. I am 42 years old...
After reading his letter. I put it on the table, and I couldn't believe still. I was thinking if I should send mine to him since it was pretty obvious that it wasn't an answer of his words. He would absolutely know that I wrote it before his letter arrived. I crossed my fingers because my decision was final, I went to the post office adjacent to our public market and sent it without any hesitation anymore. I was really praying that Jordan would not think that I was an easy girl because he could absolutely sense that it wasn't a reply instead of it was intentionally written before hand.
Months went by, and I again received letters from him. Yes, it was not only one but two. He was sending more and more. I told him the truth that I only wanted to learn in English nothing more. He insisted that he wanted to be my new friend though he was far from me. His letters were our constant communication.
"Okay, I will say yes for that..."
We were exchanging letters for almost a year, and he decided to go to the Philippines to meet my family and me. I told him no because I've never told my parents yet because they wanted me to concentrate on my studies and finished it to help my siblings who were in their grade and high school years. He insisted to go in my place though I really told him the true reason. It was a crazy decision from me to say yes to my uncle without any second thoughts. To make friends through writing. I felt like my life was complicated then. It was not easy to lie to my parents especially that I wasn't used to do it because I wanted them to be so proud of me when I'd wear my toga. I wrote a last letter for Jordan that I would cut that craziness anymore. I could learn from writing and so on and forth by not doing that thing which could only broke my promise to my family. It was a shallow reason that made me confuse throughout the days. I didn't receive any reply from him. I was so happy because I was thinking that he already understood my stance or my situation. It wasn't easy to build friendship to a stranger when he didn't even see me even in pictures because taking pictures was not my cup of tea. My classmates used to do that, but I just sat down on the studio watching them with their poses on the camera. On the contrary, I saw Jordan's pictures. He sent me a couple of his pictures also with his friends and with his solo snap shots as well. I told myself to not be naive and killjoy if her pen friend would visit him. "This was not good. I could sense chaos." My mind kept banging me these words.
The smell of the falling leaves in autumn and the awesome view of its colors in the valley of trees were like inviting me to recall my teenage years. To fly kites with my neighbors or having this children's games on weekends. I gazed the meadows from my room window. It was perfect. I wished then that I could go on swimming with my bosom friends, but my imagination stopped when my sister called me outside.
"Arlene, someone is looking for you!"
"Ha? Who? Is it our neighbor from abroad?"
"No, he seems like a foreigner!"
"Oh my! Why, why, and why? I exclaimed.
I looked myself in the mirror and just brush my hair by my hand and went out going to the door.
When I stepped outside, I saw all the leaves of the plants in my surroundings were on fire because Jordan was walking with his Machete like body. I almost fainted with so much surprise and happiness.
When he was in front of my face, he asked me if I knew Arlene. I answered him that it was me who he was looking for. He stared at me while my parents were like statues standing in the backyard. Numb, mute, and sad.