Remona Aly
Monday 10 December 2018 BBC Radio 2

The Love Letter

The Love Letter

I was trying to find an email the other day, I typed a couple of words into the search bar, and hundreds of messages rose up like an e-tidal wave. Of course, I didn’t find what I was looking for. But I did find something that was looking for me – an unread email, which had waited ten years to be opened.

It was from a guy I used to know. Reading it now, I realised his email was a love letter – not the conventional kind – but subtle, so subtle that I’d missed it. I still feel a bit guilty about that time, as I didn’t fancy him. But Cupid had his justice with me too – I’ve had my dose of unrequited love.

Like, for example my first crush. I was a goofy 13 year old, and he was a Greek Adonis – tall, dark and a hundred percent oblivious to me. And yet I wrote him love letters in a diary that he and no one else would ever lay eyes on – I burnt them all a year later in the back garden, my embarrassment turning to ashes.

It is bizarre how love can make you feel, and what it can make you do.

Love made one woman in the 8th century reject all marriage proposals, and embrace life as Islam’s first female Sufi saint. Islam isn’t a religion of celibacy, yet Rabia al Basri chose divine love over human love.

Rabia wrote a poem as a love letter to God. It read: “My joy, my hunger, my shelter, my friend, my food for the journey, my journey’s end. You are my breath, my hope, my companion, my craving, my abundant wealth. I look everywhere for your love. Then suddenly I am filled with it.”

Rabia al Basri has made me think of her, and myself as a walking, living love letter to the Divine. Every kiss, every tear, every plea of mine is like the ink on my page. Yet when it comes to guys or to God, the love doesn’t always come easy. With the big G, I struggle with the trials in life, and my restless heart can waver. But somehow I find my way back, knowing that this love will always be requited.