These days, there are so many ways to communicate that it’s easy to stay in almost constant contact, but still lose that personal touch. You can text, e-mail, Skype, or IM; you can post a message on a facebook page or send a tweet via Twitter. Words can be unbelievably powerful and can move people in many ways. The problem is that a hundred different people can type the same words—even beautifully composed words—and they will always be exactly the same words. There is none of the uniquely personal and emotional reaction that arises when those same words are spoken aloud.
Sometimes, there is just no communication as clear as the sound of a human voice. Voices can affect us in a way that the mere reading of words on a page cannot; there’s a special comfort in hearing the tones, and rhythms, and inflections of a familiar voice. Even the most ordinary words can take on new meaning when they are spoken in a voice that you know and love.
A voice that belongs to someone you know well can erase the effects of time and distance. When you hear that voice, your brain immediately recognizes it and responds differently than to written words or other voices; somehow that response can make any number of years or miles of separation evaporate instantly. The conversation feels warm and comforting like a long, lingering hug. For those few (or many) minutes, it feels as if you are together again and as if the last time was only moments before—even if you are separated by dozens of years or hundreds of miles.
Your voice does that for me; it always has. From the instant I hear you say “hello,” the days or weeks since the last time we talked seem to disappear, and it’s almost as if the time between has never happened. I can hear your smile, and I enjoy the sound of your laugh. I love the expressiveness in your voice. It makes me feel as if I am close enough to touch you, even though I can’t. It’s not quite as good as being with you, but it helps; it really does. The feeling reminds me of the old advertising slogan, “Long distance: the next best thing to being there.”
The sweetest part is that subtle change in your voice when you know our call is nearly finished and you have to say goodbye. After even the most mundane conversation, a touch of softness creeps into your voice when you call me the name you know I like—the one that only you call me. Although you probably wouldn’t admit it, I’m sure I hear just a hint of longing when you know we have no more time. Not in your words—but in your voice. I’m sure my voice betrays me, too.
I hope we will have the opportunity to spend some time together before long. I also hope that I will have the chance to hear your voice more often, and for many years to come.