A Letter from a Solider in the Heat of War

Dearest Katherine,

                I hope this letter finds you and that when it does you are well. It feels as though it has been ages since I received your last letter, and I hope that you have not forgotten about me, as you are always on my mind and my eventual return home to you is all that is keeping me going.

We are stationed somewhere in France. The people are kind and the landscape is beautiful, although I don’t much prefer it to home. I think you would find this place lovely and you would want to live here if you saw it. There are flowers everywhere and the land is green and lush. I can just imagine you keeping house in one of these quaint country homes and us taking trips to see the shore as it is not too far from here.

We have been lucky and have not seen any battle since we arrived here, but I have been told to expect enemy forces any day now. I can’t imagine battling in these quiet lands, but so much of my expectations for war and where it could be waged have changed. Sometimes I think war could be waged in front of the gates of heaven under the right circumstances.

Although the pleasantries in our notes are nice and they keep me grounded, I cannot concentrate on anything other than being downright sick not being able to see you and be in our home together. This foreign land and the views of the sea just remind me that it is this war and those waters that keep me half a world away from you. I have half considered abandoning my post and diving into those icy waters to start my journey back home, but If they catch me I’ll rot the rest of this war in jail and I’m not a decent swimmer in calm waters, let alone the breakers of the mighty Atlantic. For now, all I can do is look towards the American shores and hope you might be looking back my way.

I must admit I sometimes worry you do not long for me as I do for you. Being at home, you must have your comforts and your priorities, but I sometimes lay awake at night wondering if you ache for me in the way that I ache for you. Perhaps it is homesickness or a fear of what is to come, but outside of those things I could not imagine fighting these bloody fights to return home and find you not loving me the way you did when I left. It has been so long since we were together last; I am finding it hard to remember the way we used to be before this horrible mess, and perhaps that is where my unease is coming from.

If I return, I want to take you someplace nice so that we might be able to be alone so that I can tell you all of these things and see your face. I want to hear your voice and smell your sweet perfume. I pray you have not moved on from me, as I am unsure I could ever move on from you or that I would ever want to. I hate this war for ever coming between us and planting such rotten seeds of doubt in my mind, and know that If I could change it, no sea or land would be between us tonight.

I know you do not care for such discussion, but should I not return from this solitary land, know that I loved you with every fiber of my being. Know that if my heart is all that’s left of me, should it be intact when I am found, it should be buried next to my mother’s plot back home where I hope you will visit me from time to time. And please know that I would never haunt you, but that I would be with you should you want me there, keeping watch over you and looking out for your safety. I do not plan on letting death be the final ocean to come between us, but should it occur, you should know how I feel.

Please write back soon, your letters are such a comfort to me and they make this foreign place seem a little more like home. Again, I hope you are well and should I make it through to the end of this mess, I cannot wait to see you.

Yours with love and affection,