Thursday, September 20


She's Evelynn. He's Sebastian.
She was 16 and he was 18.
They were friends but they have never met each other.
She saw his name in a pen-pal column in a teenage magazine, and decided to write to him, extending her hand in friendship.To her delight, he replied. And they stuck a friendship through letters, which was to last for more than a decade.

Unlike her other pen-pals who would ask for a photo of her by the second letter, he never did so. She didn't know how he looked like, and she was not bothered to find out. His letters were initially short but that did not deter her from continuing to write to him. She wrote long letters, describing her days as a school prefect and her hobbies. Soon, he started to open up, and shared his feelings and daily activities with her.
He told her about his problems in school, and admitted that he was not a good student. He was in fact, a shy boy who didn't have many friends. Distance and the fact that they had never met or talked on the phone made him felt safe to share his feelings with her.
She listened and gave him advice, encouraging him to do well in his studies.
It usually took him 5 days to reply her letters, so she wait patiently for the postman to arrive. On the fifth day, she would eagerly check the postbox, hoping to see his letter.
She began to recognise his scrawny handwriting and knew his moods by the way he wrote.
Never once throughout their correspondence, did they mention about love.
It just escaped their attention, or perhaps they were too afraid that the mere mention of that word would change their friendship into something they were not ready for.
She was happy just to have him as a friend.
She knew that he would not pop that question, and she knew that she was not ready either.
She also knew that he did not have any special girlfriend, because he was too shy to approach a girl.
And they remained as platonic friends.

One day, on a whim, she suggested that they exchange photographs.
"No, not the latest pic of ourselves but one taken when we were babies. I'd like a baby photo of you!" she wrote.
Surprisingly, he sent one, taken when he was a year old.
She replied with one of her own.

Their letters got longer and longer and one day, he laughed as he told her he had to spend an hour reading her 17-page letter. She replied that she would not write that long anymore, so as to spare him the torture of reading her ramblings.
When he didn't do well in his SPM, she told him not to give up.
He went on to Form Six, but complained that he couldn't cope with Accountancy. She told him to persevere as his mother wants him to be an accountant.
Later, she went off to college and their correspondence stopped for a while.
They continued writing to each other again when she sent him a note, asking about his whereabouts.
By then, he was going to further his studies in New Zealand. She was dating a college mate.

He continued writing to her, describing his days as an undergraduate in a university in New Zealand.
He added postcards and brochures. And to her pleasure, he also sent her his personal photographs.
She was glad that he was happy there.
Then she got married and they lost touch with each other.

A few years later, she sent him a New Year greeting card with her latest address.
He replied, and told he that he had returned home as an accountant.
They kept in touch but he told her that his newly-wedded wife didn't like him to continue corresponding with her. He said that his wife was jealous of their friendship.
She assured him that she understood, and she wished him well. She bid him goodbye.

They stopped writing to each other after that.

Suddenly, a year later, she received a letter from him again.
It was about an urgent matter.
He told her that he needed her help.
"Do you still have the baby photo of me that I sent to you?" he asked.
He described that his first-born, a boy, was diagnosed with a type of Down Syndrome. And they had only discovered it, so he needed the photo to check whether his son looked like him when he was at that age. It was hard for him and his wife to accept their son's condition.
She rushed back to her hometown, hoping that the photograph was still in the drawer where she had last kept all his letters, tied with a red ribbon.
Fortunately, it was still there.
She posted the photo back to him, and that was the last she heard from him.

Throughout the years, she tried to look for him but she knew that it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.
She didn't want to meet him personally, but she'd be happy if she knew that he's doing well.
She also knew that theirs is a special kind of friendship, which might never be experienced again in her lifetime.
In these days of internet and facebook, the art of letter-writing is lost. Most teenagers today do not know how to write a friendly letter.
And sometimes, as she passes his hometown, she said a silent prayer for him, that God would bless, guide and give him happiness.


  1. Assalamualaikum wrh. wbt,


    Sayang sekali kisah sebegini tidak pernah masuk senarai idea untuk drama bersiri atau filem kita di Malaysia. Waktu membaca tulisan ini, di fikiran saya tergambar satu filem indah tentang persahabatan.

    Itulah, ada banyak peristiwa cantik dalam hidup terutama hal-hal persahabatan yang saya kira jauh lebih hebat dari sebuah kisah cinta.

    Alangkah bagusnya jika ada yang mahu membikin filem atau drama daripada cerita Aliya ini.

    Moga-moga ada yang terbuka hatinya. Amin.

    Saya juga ada cerita indah tentang persahabatan dengan surat menyurat ini yang berlangsung selama jangka masa 20 tahun. Bermula dari usia 15, sekarang masing-masing sudah menggapai usia 40. Masing-masing tahu perkembangan diri masing-masing (melalui bidang pekerjaan dan kejayaan hidup masing-masing), tetapi tak lagi berhubungan seperti muda remaja dulu, cuma berkirim khabar satu tahun sekali.

    Seperti Evelyn dan Sebastian, saya kira persahabatan seperti itu lebih besar rasa hormat itu akan diri masing-masing daripada perasaan cinta itu sendiri.


  2. Waalaikumussalam notalalaland,
    Ameen... ini kisah benar, zaman silam saya :)
    Benar, sekarang yang hangat di TV hanyalah kisah-kisah cinta termasuk cinta remaja, sehingga anak muda kita berpendapat bila ada kawan berlainan jantina, mesti ber'couple' jer.

  3. Assalamualaikum

    Sincerely, I love this blogpost very much. Thanks cikgu Aliya for this beautiful article. I was a active letter writter also, got a lot of penpal, handwritten letter, envelope. Those was my writing memories. There was no internet and forum, facebook, how we contact was just a plain paper with hand written words.

    I used to write letter for 5-6 people who live at same garden, which mean they are friends who sending me letter. It was tired moment but I enjoy it.

    I also once share photo with a penpal, but then she lost contact once she knew I got a special friend. It was just flew away like that. Everyday waiting at the mailbox for she sending me back a letter.

    It's like waiting for a surprise. But yet I moved to another place and never heard of her.