That moment has arrived; the time to lock you up along with many other things, which I don’t use anymore, but don’t have the heart to throw away, is here. I am not going to meet you till I open the carton to dump another item. And, that might take ages. Even if I do, in all probability, I might fail to notice your presence.
So, before I declare your retirement, I am using you dear Pen, to write this letter about how precious you were to me. You noticed it, didn’t you? You were.
Every morning, before leaving to work, I lock the door, and my hand goes to the pocket in my shirt to ensure that you are resting in your pride of place. Even when I am clad in casual clothing, I carry you in my trousers and shorts. Like a marsupial. (Forget the times, when you jumped off from my pocket. I was tipsy then… Okay, I was drunk.)
But, when was the last time I used you? To sign a loan application. Maybe one more time after that. To draw an elephant on a toddler’s hand. That was all. We are in the times of smart phones, my dear Pen. Most men don’t carry you in their pockets anymore, and women’s bags and clutches hold other important things. Things of your kind are mere embellishments these days.
Did you know? Good Handwriting Stationaries, where I met you the first time, has been closed permanently? I still remember how you looked that day. Good Handwriting Stationaries was bright. It was abnormally bright as though an enormous star was hiding in the store. Father was talking to the shop-keeper about an expensive fountain pen. I could hear their chat. I was too short and I was standing behind a huge table, so I couldn’t see the shop-keeper’s face. Pressing one hand on the table, I tried jumping up to take a good look around the store. My pajamas were too loose. I held it with another hand, and jumped again to see the shop-keeper. And, that’s when, you fell from the table. Unlike my other pens, you had four tiny, colorful pens in you. I was astonished. I picked you up, and tried using the green pen to scrawl on my palm. It was one of the happiest days. Then, I tried all the other colors over and over again, scribbling feverishly on a tiny notepad that the shop-keeper offered.
Father smiled. Touching my head, he asked, “Do you want it?” I nodded, and he bought four for me. Since that day, I visited Good Handwriting Stationaries almost every month to buy so many you. Despite knowing that the owner had misspelt ‘Stationaries’ in the signboard, I chose to not tell him because I didn’t want to upset the man, who introduced you to me. And, I knew I could get the best you only in that store.
I wrote my first letter using you, my dear Pen. I sobbed a lot when my favourite teacher Mrs Jones announced her retirement. I was in Class 1 then. Father told me I could write a farewell letter to her. Did you know what I wrote?
Dear Mrs Jones,
I will miss you. Goodby.
When Mrs Jones read the letter, she smiled. She walked toward my desk, and pinched my cheeks. Then, she kissed the letter and told me, “Dobby, you are adorable. And, Goodby is usually spelt with an e at the end.” Mrs Jones wrote a letter to me after she retired. That letter will give you company when I put you in that box, my dear Pen.
After I grew up, I filled many application forms using you. I couldn’t use you to write examinations though, because you are a ballpoint pen. But, I still managed to use you profusely. I had a strange fondness for you because you had four pens in one tube. How fascinating!
My first conversation with my girlfriend was about you. “Man, do you still use pens?” she asked, when she found me carrying you in my pocket. “You must be really romantic!” she remarked. I accepted the compliment and offered her an awkward smile.
On a cold night, after a memorable, passionate lovemaking, my girlfriend wore my shirt. As she fastened the buttons, she wondered aloud, touching the pen in the pocket, “Dobby, do you still use pens? And this one is so old-fashioned. With this pen in your pocket, you look like an old man to me.” I didn’t disagree. You certainly didn’t go well with my pleasant clothes and, your green and red pens started looking funny on me.
Now, do not misunderstand me, my dear Pen. I didn’t decide to terminate our unnamed relationship because of my girlfriend. Lately, carrying you in my pocket feels like walking the leash after the dog’s demise.
I have been carrying you because I have done it all my life. But, why should I continue to keep you in my pocket, when I barely use you? And, you must trust, if I admit that it hurts to keep you locked up. However, it’s futile to romanticize the past for the sake of it.
After having written numerous letters, and a few howlers, my dear Pen, I finally choose to let you rest. Will I use you again to write a love-note, you ask? I don’t meet a lot of people, who adore written-notes, these days. But, we would never know.