He was a letter writer.
Written letters had long become a thing of the past—after all, why would one write when one could receive instant gratification through an electronic device? All of these things made life so much easier.
In fact, Alan lived in a time where most people didn't know how to write. Everyone was proficient in reading, of course—after all, one had to read the daily screen to know the news and things that were going on. And all children learned how to type before they were five years old. But writing was not something that was used anymore, and it had become almost socially unacceptable to write anything. It wasn't against the law, but it certainly was frowned upon.
But Alan wrote anyway. The gift of handwriting and penmanship had been taught to him from his father, and his father and his father before him. At the time of his great grandfather, being unable to write had been considered illiterate. Pens and pencils, which had literally become obsolete, were very important to Alan, and he paid quite a bit to get his pens, which were shipped from somewhere in Europe.
He wrote to do lists, shopping lists, and he wrote at least once a week in a leather bound journal, which was one of his most precious possessions. But what Alan liked writing the most was letters. To those close to him (and some not so close), his letters were gifts from another time, and they enjoyed them. Sometimes, however, Alan was shunned because he wrote someone a letter, and in a few instances some people stopped speaking to him due to this.
He did not let this bother him and continued writing letters.
One day, Alan decided that he would write a letter to a woman he liked. He knew this was a risky venture, but one day after work, he sat down at his ancient writing desk (also passed down to him) and painstakingly wrote Janice a letter, telling her his feelings and asking her politely if she would like to go out on a date with him, sometime. Alan loved this way of communicating—it plainly said what he wanted, and it wasn't awkward and he certainly wouldn't screw up. He knew exactly what he would say and he could re-read his penmanship to make sure it was what he wanted. Then he folded it up, put it in an envelope, and set it on his desk.
The next morning, he nonchalantly slipped his letter on Janice's desk when she was on lunch break. Unfortunately for him, he didn't see her for the rest of the day, so he was on pins and needles when he got home. He browsed the web for some time; then, his hands fidgeting, he sat down at his writing desk and started writing a letter to his father. Even though the postal service had went under many years ago, they still found a way to get letters to each other—even if it took up to a year, the letter would get to the receiver. Of course, Alan called his dad once a week as well, but the letter writing was just something that meant something to them—a reminder of how things used to be.
While Alan was writing, someone began knocking at his door. He looked up in surprise. Who could that be? he wondered. Smoothing back his black hair subconsiously, he walked to the door and opened it.
Janice was standing there, her brown hair that was normally up in a strict bun flowing past her shoulders. She wore a modest outfit that made her look beautiful, Alan personally thought, and her hands, ears, and face were free of any gadgets that one generally wore.
"Um, h-hello Janice?" Alan stuttered. "How did you find my address?"
Janice winked. "Looked it up in the directory, of course. It's not hard to find anyone's information if you know the right people."
"Well, why don't you come on in?"
She walked in and sat at the kitchen table with him. "I read your letter," she told him.
"And?" Alan was nervous to find out what she thought of him and his letter now.
"And, well... I do kind of like you, but I want to wait a bit. My ex-boyfriend dumped me recently, and I need to heal before I dive into another relationship." She noticed his raised eyebrows. "Honest. You can give me a rain check on that date when I'm ready."
Alan nodded. But he couldn't help wondering why she was here. She could have told him this at work, after all...
"But the real reason I came here..." she said, almost reading his thoughts, "...was to ask you if you could teach me some penmanship of my own." She brought Alan's letter out of her pocket and folded it on the table. "How do you do this? It's so legible, yet... It's just so unique. Can't you teach me?"
Alan's face lit up in one of the brightest smiles ever. "Of course! I'll supply you with a few pens and some paper, if you're really interested," he said, leading her into his special room with his desk.
He didn't stop smiling for a very long time after that, because now the letter writer could teach someone else his art.