I often listen to my Nan talk about the days when she would write to my Grandad when he was out at war. She would write him a note about how London was, how she was, let him know she was safe. He would write back, sometimes weeks later, and share stories of life on the front line.
A real romance. A real story. 50 odd years married. Years and years apart with nothing but a letter now & again.
I’m sure my Nan would check the window for the postman and would have butterflies if something were to land on her mat with my Grandad’s distinctive writing scrawled on the front.
I’m also sure that she was more than happy to wait the weeks. The more weeks, the more special the letter seemed. She just couldn’t wait to have him home. No matter how long she waited. They were only “courting” at the time. This was their way of chatting each other up.
I often wondering what it would be like if my Nan and Grandad were "courting" now. I reckon things would be going a little something like this
Grandad would text Nan after having met her in the pub, having had a bit of drunken banter. Met her Friday, Sunday text. Standard two day turn around.
Nan would give it about forty minutes to an hour before replying with a cool, calm, contrived response, accepting his invite to go for a drink. Nan would not put a kiss at the end of the text. Grandad hadn’t put one on his. She wouldn’t want to seem too keen.
So Nan and Grandad have gone on a few dates. Nan’s been well behaved and not got stupidly drunk, not spoken about her crazy ex who once got a kick out of joyriding milk floats, not sworn too much, kept good eye contact but most importantly she played it cool.
Grandad, cool as ever, is really keen. Nan's like no other girl he knows. She drinks gin like a sailor in head turning dresses. Her laugh is contagious and she likes a good gangster film. Get her talking about football and he's ready to get down one knee.
After a month or so he can see this going places and reckons he wants to see a bit more of Nan. He’s going out for his birthday in a few weeks and has already bought her a ticket. He means it.
Nan reckons she can sense this and let’s be honest, he’s a catch so she’s beyond keen back. Grandad’s done the running, sorted out the cool east London bars to go too and treated Nan to a couple of cinema trips. It was her turn.
Nan’s a modern woman. She works, she drives. She knows she needs to be making the moves back. She doesn’t want Grandad thinking she’s not keen. He’s been pretty hot on the texting thing. Most days a cheeky one liner will come through, perhaps a wink emoticon. There’s been texts back and forth. Nan’s confident on this one. After years of bad All Bar One experiences and sketch situations with blokes at work, she’s landed the guy that does the right thing. He replies!
So casual as, Nan sends a text. A cheeky offer of a few drinks and a bite to eat on Friday night. It’s Monday so plenty of warning. Grandad will love this, a confident woman, a woMAN with a plan. Send text.
The standard forty “I’m not going to instantly reply but I want to still appear keen” minutes goes by. No response. Nan gets home. No response. Hair wash. No response. Dinner. No response. The absolute killer…the next morning. No response.
The entire next day in the office is spent in blind panic. Nan’s head is filled with scenario upon scenario about what could have happened. By her afternoon cup of peppermint tea, Grandad is either dead or has fallen head over heels in love with a woman on the bus.
Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning is dedicated to Nan constantly refreshing her Facebook feed. 1am Wednesday morning and Grandad checks in at the pub and likes a few comments. 'Checked in using Android'. The “he’s been mugged so couldn't possibly reply” option is out of the window.
Wednesday is spent heartbroken that Grandad hasn’t been involved in a fatal accident and is in fact ignoring Nan. She spends the day re-reading the text. Wondering if the smiley face and the wink was a step too far. Maybe she wasn’t direct enough? Maybe she was too forward?
5pm Wednesday and the sending texts to herself thing begins. Poor Nan just wants to ensure that her phone is actually working. It is.
By the end of the bus journey home Nan has decided to join the gym, dye her hair and eat salad only for a month. He clearly is so repulsed by the sight of her name, let her alone her face, that he can’t bring himself to reply to a god damn text.
"That’s It!", Nan thinks. She’s moving on. She didn’t like him anyway. Another shower. Her phones on silent and in the bottom of her bag. She’d rather Aunty Rene didn’t send a text, she hear it and get her hopes up.
Gets in to bed. Making a mental note to smile at every bloke on the way to work tomorrow. 48 hours is plenty of time to secure a date for Friday night. She has after all already told her Mum she won’t be in for dinner. The potential humiliation is too much to bear.
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yeah sounds good ;) what time?
Nan blushes even though nobody’s there. She falls asleep wondering what to wear and giggling to herself at the jokes she knows he'll already make.
Imagine if he’d have left it 3 weeks to reply like he did in 1941….