Monday, December 8, 2008

Letters (Part Two)

(Letters is my series exploring a war-time
relationship across the miles. Part One is here)


It rained today, and I thought of your letter. That flood of words you were so good to pour my way.

And yet, it was a cold rain. You know the kind. Spitting mad that it wasn’t soft snow. I didn’t feel cleansed, or renewed. That kind of cold is only good for carving the void.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want fantasies, Elise. As lovely as they, and your sweet intention, are. I don’t want to think about what could be. I want to think about you, in this moment...and this one, too. That’s how I’ll feel closest to you (and I need to feel close to you). Tell me what you do with all your hours. Fill up my head with your easy chatter. Because this moon of ours isn’t talking. Even as I keep asking.

Did you finish that scarf you were knitting for my mother? How does our tree look now that it's winter? What feelings soap your heart when you’re lying in that bath? In these precious revelations, I can hold you.

So forget this dream Elise. The one I see every night, when I close my eyes and enter a kinder, more merciful world, without the cracking fear, and chronic boredom, and wet, oozing sores on my feet. Because she always leaves me when I wake up. When it’s time, again, to march.

All I want in this world is you.



p.s. Could you send another photo, my dear? This one is getting a little worn.


Part Three is here


David Cranmer said...

Parts I and II are tremendous prose. And the images you have chosen to go along with the story are perfect.

Aine said...

Oh, nice!! Sarah, you really captured interesting dynamics in this couple. I'd love to analyze their personality types... ;)

At first, I thought "ouch"-- he was cutting her down. But then he recovered nicely. Affirmation is so lovely, and necessary.

Anonymous said...

You can lay the two letters next to each other. Their words, equally present. Yet, the longing distance between them is as palpable as any canyon, as any ocean bounded by two shores.

KA Cole said...

How do you do it?!



Sarah Hina said...

David, thank you very much for the kind words. The images are important to these pieces. I love this old tree. In fact, I used its summer incarnation in a poem last July.

Aine, I loved how each of them is very romantic, but that their fuel sparks in different places.

She wants something to shoot for, while he wants to claim a fuller, and more present, reality (and no wonder, in war). Both attempts will fall short, but I like their equally intense devotion. :) Thank you!!

Jason, you're right. And it won't be crossed for more time than she wants to dream about, or he wants to ignore.

And yet, they will keep writing.

Kimberely, I'm really enjoying the power of these letters. They might grow into something more. We'll see! :)

And thank you!

Charles Gramlich said...

Now how could any woman resist that? She'd have to have a heart of stone.

Anonymous said...

BTW, love the color of the grass in that photo! Counterposing warmth against the shape of the tree.

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, I think I even woo'd myself! But then again, I'm a softie. ;) Thanks for the great comment!

Jason, thank you. :)

This might be my favorite spot around Athens--which is why I keep returning!

(I got a little lazy with Photoshop on this one...but hey, nature's not perfect, either. ;))

Vesper said...

It's amazing how you direct the feelings of the reader from cold to warmth in just a few words.
(A bit harsh, yet so real...)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Ah, so poignant. Both letters represent tender affirmations of love - said in different ways. I can understand the soldier's torment at having to settle for fantasies. It is almost as if he cannot allow himself the luxury of dreaming about what, presently, cannot be.
And yet - he wants her to tell him more. The sorrow...

Sarah Hina said...

Vesper, I'm glad you felt the temperature rise. :)

I did think it was important for him to be honest about his desires. God knows he deserves to have them met.

K, I do think that pain cuts too deeply--to long for something that seems almost impossible in the present is its own form of suffering. And so he strives to know her as best he can, now. Love doesn't dwindle in such circumstances--it just has to adapt to the shape of its water, I guess. :)

Thank you for the perceptive comment, K!

Sheri said...

I'm late to the letters, but better late than never. I don't know how to put to words just how talented you are. When I read your words, I feel like it is something, like you are someone, I should have studied in school. I am not just saying that. I mean it. You have a talent that is rare and even more so in our day of fast paced living. You remind me why I became a writer. The love of words strung together like a graceful strand of pearls.


Sarah Hina said...

Sheri, I must not be very good with words, because I can't adequately explain how much your thoughts mean to me.

Just know that your support and belief in my work touch me deeply. The fact that I've reached someone so talented and with such a beautiful heart makes me feel like the struggles are worth it.

So thank you, my friend. Your words are like jewels to me. :)

Sheri said...

One day, when we are both well published, we'll have to meet and sip coffee, or maybe tea, and talk as if no time or dsitance ever existed...

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Aniket Thakkar said...

"That kind of cold is only good for carving the void." this line says so much more than a lifetime could explain... Loved the contrast in their thoughts, and yet their love share a common dream!