Back in early 2005, I went to a website dedicated to providing people with pen pals. I registered, just out of curiosity. Not long afterward, a received an e-mail from a gentleman in London, asking to be my pen pal. For the next four years, we e-mailed each other every few weeks until last December.
He told me he was a teacher in a private school in London. He was slightly younger than I was, and although he had had a number of lady friends, some of whom he had actually lived with for a time, he had always managed to avoid marriage.
He said he came to the U.S. as a young man, and went to college here, so he was familiar with this country and very interested in our politics, among other things. He was a fan of Maya Angelou, and had met her in London one time.
We had some very interesting discussions on all sorts of topics, sometimes becoming very philosophical, and as time went on, we became comfortable enough to talk about some personal details about our lives. When he met and fell for a woman in Budapest, he told me all about her and her family, and his efforts to keep a distance, at first, because she was much younger. He spent a lot of time going back and forth, and they took a vacation or two together.
He was stunned when, one day, she announced that she was pregnant. She wanted him to marry her and take her to London to live, and he came under a lot of pressure from her parents, but still he resisted. He asked my advice a few times, about the situation. He even sent me a photo of her, and my first thought was to tell him to run, run fast, and don't look back. But, that wasn't what he wanted to hear, so I remained noncommittal about his situation. Finally, she did go to London to live with him. One day, he sent me a photo of his son, and said that he intended to be a part of the child's life and provide for him, although he still didn't want to get married.
Then, last fall, I realized that I hadn't heard from him for much longer than usual, so I sent an e-mail asking if he was all right, something we had both done when it seemed too long between e-mails. Finally, in December, he wrote that he had had a serious heart attack and had been in the hospital for several weeks. He was at home, although he was still very weak and had to get a lot of rest. I wrote back, expressing my concern and my hope that he would make a full recovery. I haven't heard from him since.
I can't help but believe that he must have died, but don't know how to confirm my suspicions. I'm pretty certain that his lady friend wasn't aware of our long-time correspondence. So, she wouldn't know to inform me, or even care to, for that matter.
What I do know is that, surprisingly, I miss him. Or, rather, his e-mails. Although we never met in person, I felt we were friends. It's possible, of course, that he just decided to stop corresponding, but I find it difficult to believe that after such a long time, he would simply stop writing without any explanation.
I would certainly like to know if he is alive and well. Any ideas about how I can find out if he passed away?