Monday, December 29, 2008

Letters (Part Five)

(Letters is my series exploring a war-
time relationship across the miles. Here
are Parts One , Two, Three, and Four. )

Dear Patrick,

Are you still in the infirmary?

I can't tell if you’re being straight with me, or not. Are you only a little sick, or are you trying to protect me? Now I’m the one needing details. I want to know everything. Please, darling, plug all my gaps.

There is a smudge on your envelope that looks like blood. I keep thinking TB. Or a wound. The mind will shape a devil from the slightest inkblot. Yet perhaps it’s not your blood. Perhaps it’s something from your nurse’s hand. Iodine? I'm sorry. The not knowing has me a little frantic. I dreamed all in red last night.

Yet how wonderful that you have found someone from home to nurse you! I couldn’t quite believe it when I first read your letter. And so nice that Hannah should be nearby when you both return to the States. Maybe I will meet her someday. That’s heartwrenching about her sweetheart. I cannot imagine. Is she very broken still? Two years isn’t long enough.

Darling, I’ve started volunteering for the Red Cross. Something to help out, and get me out of this house. We’re collecting pints of blood in a mobile unit downtown, and a few of us ladies are rolling bandages and knitting clothes. Little things. But with each stitch I purl, I keep thinking, Maybe this will find its way to Patrick. A cap to fit over your ears. A scarf to hug your neck.

Of course, it’s all hideously selfish of me. Like you should be the only one who matters to me in this world. But it helps to think I might be keeping you warm. You know how I love my fantasies. At least here’s the smallest chance they might also be right.

Let me know how you’re truly coping, won’t you, Patrick? Yes, I tend to look toward a rosier future. But it does not follow that I want you shielding me from the muddier present. I won't lose you in some shadow world. And I see nothing without a finger on your pulse.

Take care of yourself, darling. I wish I were Please take care.

And if I’m worrying over nothing, forgive me again. It's the nature of this beast.



p.s. Christmas was a happy day, my love. Your mother showed me photographs from your childhood. How sweet you were! Strange to think we were separated back then, too. We just didn't know it. And yet, I thought I saw something wanting in your eyes. Even then.


Part Six is here


Catvibe said...

Oh my god, this is so heartbreaking Sarah! I'm anticipating the possibility that Patrick might take up with Hannah...I wonder where you will go next with this. I can completely relate to Elise's fantasies and her nightmares, I feel far more connected to her than to Patrick for some reason beyond just her gender. I wonder about the parts of yourself that are becoming her character.

Anonymous said...

First off, what a great photo! The colors and shapes are so striking.

I cringe for Elise with the speed of mail. Her worries are now. Her voice is spoken as she writes the letter. God knows how long his words back will take.

I hope she finds some solid inner ground to stand on during such twisted times.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sarah - I, somehow, missed the last letter that Patrick wrote. I just read that post and now this one.

I think I have the same worries that Vesper and Cat have - Will he and Hannah be TOO much comfort for one another? Kindred spirits in a world gone mad, uniting?

The smudge on the envelope(inkblot as she calls it, ironically) gives us a very intriguing look into Elise's psyche at this time. Is she losing it a little?

You are holding my attention with this very entrancing series. ;)

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, I'm sure there are parts of me in there. And since you're an idealist, parts of you as well. :) I connect with Elise's wild wishes and wonderings here, but I also connect with Patrick's desire to focus on what they do have. I want them to find a balance, however impractical (back to idealism again).

I'm glad this is reaching you, Cat! I really wondered about the narrative impact in this format.

Jason, thanks about the photo! It felt good to get out over the weekend and rediscover those open spaces. :)

Yes, Elise has it hard with the pace of things here. So many things are outside her (and their) control. She'll likely always worry, but at least she's trying to worry about the right things here. That inner strength is evolving.

Kaye, I do think Elise keeps losing it, before quickly regathering the pieces. These little blips are magnified too much within her mind. You're right in that she has a tenuous hold. But still a hold.

As far as Patrick and Hannah are concerned, I'm going to keep faith in him! :) Maybe they will unite, but not in a way that blocks Elise out. If she can only see that.

Thank you so much, K. I'm very heartened to know that these letters are finding such a warm reception. Like Elise, I worry. ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Love seeps through every line.

Chris Eldin said...

Oh, no matter what you say in these comments, I'm still fearful about where you're going to take Hannah....

laughingwolf said...

love it!

season's blessings to you and yours

Aine said...

I must admit I'm still worried with Chris and Kaye. I just don't like things muddling with purity. And I'm terribly sensitive to anyone getting hurt....

Can't wait to see where you take this!

David Cranmer said...

There's not one aspect of this story that's not gripping.

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, I'm so glad you felt that warmth and bond.

Chris, nobody ever believes me!! :p We'll just have to wait and see (erm, I tend to have a bad habit of not really planning these things out)...

Laughingwolf, thank you! And the same to you. :)

Aine, I'm sensitive to hurt and chaos, too. And that's all you're getting from me. ;) Thank you, though, for being so involved in the story!

David, I'm so grateful to hear you say that. I really was concerned this series would be a big stinker in terms of the story. Glad to be proven wrong. :)

Aniket Thakkar said...

"And I see nothing without a finger on your pulse." this feeling has earned me quite a few speeches on "Positive Thinking"... but the heart never listens t logic when it comes to the ones you love!