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Love in My Mailbox
Dedicated to My Best Friend, Laurie Kibota-Smith
Submitted by Cal
Love comes into our lives in many ways. Mine came in the mail.
Laurie and I were teenagers when we started writing to each other during the summer of 1980. I live on the East coast, and she lives on Oahu. We got to know each other through our letters, talking about typical teenage-girl topics like school, boys, hobbies, and plans for the future. Over time, we made those first tentative steps to opening our hearts to one another, confiding our deepest secrets, fears, crushes, and personal feelings to each other. Good news to share? Laurie was the first one I wanted to tell! Having a rough day? I knew she would understand. We learned about love, trust, and friendship through the mail. In good times and bad, Laurie always knows the right thing to say, and having her in my life has been a blessing.
For years I looked forward to going to my mailbox each week and finding a decorated, handwritten letter from my Hawaiian friend. Today we mainly use e-mail to correspond, but it's the connection that's important to us, not the format.
In 1992, I planned my first trip to Hawaii. After sharing our most personal thoughts with each other through our letters, I wondered if it would be awkward to meet her in person. When my plane touched down in Hawaii, my heart was racing! I stepped off the plane and spotted her. She was holding out four tropical leis which she had made for me herself. I cried as I hugged this stranger, and any doubts I had about how we'd interact in person were gone immediately. To this day, the smell of plumeria brings me right back to that special day when I met my pen pal for the first time.
From our teens through our twenties and now well into our thirties, Laurie and I grew up together through our letters. We've shared the joys and sorrows that life brings: career highs and lows, a marriage and divorce, the excitement of purchasing a first home, and the hundreds of daily issues that make us who we are. I can't imagine my life without her.
Laurie has demonstrated the true meaning of aloha, and she is one part of what makes Hawaii such a special and magical place to me. Our relationship proves that love comes in many forms.
The year 2000 marks the twentieth anniversary of this unique and enduring relationship. Although six thousand miles and several time zones separate us, Laurie is always close to me, and through her I keep a little bit of Hawaii in my own heart. And for that I say, "Mahalo."