The Letters

What do you do when you're meant to be executed? Just for doing what anyone else would do? After seeing more horror and bloodshed than anyone should have to, what can be done under the heat of fire and rising tensions?


3. Matilda

My Dearest Matilda,

I just want you to know I loved you so much. LOVE you so much. Your bundle of letters that you send, my mom and dad's and Joey's, gave me the strength to keep going. You slipped in new socks into an envelope when mine were worn through and there weren't any left in our supplies. I couldn't thank you more for that at the time. All I could do was promise my body and soul to you when the war was over. But now, all I can do is promise you that never in a million years, through all my wandering would I ever find someone as loyal as you. That's why I'm telling you first about what's supposed to happen to me.

I have been tried and found guilty of the murder of an officer. Just after the Nivelle Offense, our commanding officer had gone mad and was hungry for more, going on as though we were still fighting that very second. I let my temper get the better of darling, please know that I never meant to kill a man. But know that even if by the grace of God I was given a chance to do it over, I would. Nothing would satisfy me. War makes men mad. I am so sorry for the pain I might cause by writing this. I hold the secret hope that this stack of letters never sees the light of day and are is left between these walls to decay away. But let me try to give you a fond memory of me by saying this: You were the first, and only love of my life. I can even see your face carved into the stone floor of this place. Your smile. Your laugh, oh how it makes me forget everything that I've seen and everything I've done. Your laugh made me feel like I was still human. I hope that, even though I'll be long gone by the time you might read this, someone can see you for the angel you are and love you as passionately, as strongly as I have. And I hope your love for him can even erase the memory of me. I also hope that my life will have made some small difference in this war even is my name is rubbed out. 

Forever Yours,

Jack H. Williams

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