The 18th of March 1942 – Germantown, Maryland

(found in a dusty trunk in a dusty attic)

Dear James,

I miss you. I miss you terribly.

You know, James, I’m not that ashamed to admit that I wish I could forget you. Not for all the time, not even for most of it, but I really wish I could forget you just long enough to give myself a break, just long enough to take a little sip of air without feeling the breath catch on a sob in my throat.

Every once in a while it hits me. This feeling hits me, and it damn near overwhelms me. It damn near knocks me to the ground.

Sometimes it’s in the heart or in the head or – if you’ll let me be so crude – right in the crotch. But usually, James, it’s right there in my gut, burning and simmering and tearing me up.

And in between all the happy moments and the memories and reminiscing, it actually does. It actually tears me up. And those moments make me want to forget it all. They make me want to forget you.

Because I see your face in these flashes that glint in the sunlight like sharpened knives, steel knives that stab and rip and tear. And it really does tear me up. It sends me to the ground, on my knees with my head back to the heavens.

I can only assume, James, that you’re in the same predicament, that every once in a while you feel some fire boiling away at your insides, some desire that – for the moment at least – cannot, shall not and will not ever be quenched.

I can only hope, James, that maybe you can forget, that you can get lost in your training and your friends for long enough to escape those knives, to avoid that tearing up feeling.

I really hope you can. Otherwise I cannot possibly see how you could make it through the next years or months or even days.

I really hope you can, and, for my own sake, I hope that I can find a way to do the same.

I cannot wait for the moment when you return, safely, to me again.

Until then, I fear that I will be thinking of you always.

Love,

Linda

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