3:00 O'clock - nearly dawn
of Saturday April 15.
Dearest and most precious You,
A few minutes ago I was lying, curled up in the darkness, thinking of you . . . thinking that tonight should be "your" night . . . thinking that it was nearly a month since I saw you. I've been walking around, all day, with that queer feeling at the back of the throat - means unused tears.
My eyes smart, my head aches. Tonight I feel quite desperate.
I tell myself all sorts of things to ease the pain, - it could be a lot worse - you're alive - still in England, only a few hours away - if you can't come to me, I can go to you - we still have letters - and that's a lot, an awful lot.
What is worrying me is, will you go on loving me? I know what enchantment there is in the flesh-and-blood person . You are so young - how can I keep your love when I cannot even see you, talk to you? I put all of myself into these letters, they ARE me. I'm afraid they don't add up to much against the warm-blooded human body that you love to caress and hold close to you.
I am so terribly unhappy with this fear of distance and absence making you love me less. When you get this, please send me some words of comfort. I'm not afraid of you being unfaithful - it's something far more important. We might lose each other . . . Gerry, can you say something to help? There must be Me in your future, there must always be You in mine.
My love can stand a very long separation; months, years, but can yours?
In one letter last week you said: "- lady, you've got yourself a son." That will last forever, the sweet, unselfish part of our love, and our comradeship. The present phase of our relationship, the full dazzling splendor of sex is so thrilling and delicious that I cannot bear to think of it ending prematurely by a long separation. To add "I love you" at the end of THIS would indeed be redundant!
Monday April 17
I was dreadfully shocked to receive your letter - the first for sometime - with enclosures clipped from mine.
How could I have been so thoughtless. It shows that what I've said so many times is true, "Long separations breed miss-understandings." Don't wait for a long pass. If you can get a short pass, I'll meet you for a few hours talk, any place, any direction you can get to in an hour or so. I have no idea where you are, but England itself is so tiny, that one can get to almost any part of it in an hour or so!
A kiss can say more than a thousand words.
Here's hoping we can kiss each other's misery away in a few days. Bubi sends you her most contrite regrets - she is not giving you any alibis: - doesn't believe in them -
She loves you, now and always.
Monday, April 17 - 9:30 P.M.
Have just this moment heard that The Family will be out of town from this Wednesday, afternoon, April 19th. to Thursday evening April 20th. I shall be entirely alone. If, by some miracle, you can get a pass, we can be together all night, and next morning, in fact until after dinner on Thursday. Have missed today's last post with this information but am sending it on, anyway. We've only been together once for 24 hours, we were lucky then and it was wonderful. Remember?
I love you
Tues. April 18, 1944
Oh, Gerry, Gerry.
If you could have seen your Bubi today - five minutes after you called, she was a poor little sodden mite of woe, unable to stop crying.
There still rings through my head, " - perhaps not for months, perhaps never." Never! Gerry, my darling, I don't accept that word. I HATE it, and if you won't fight against it, I will.
As if that weren't enough, the operators words were the crowning touch of bitter mockery: "you've had six minutes, you can't have any more time."
I need time, I need you to give me life, the will to live, all day, every day. We need each other's kisses, arms, loving words, dear voices, kind warm hands - need each other at night, and in the morning - need to eat together, to sleep together, need just to see each other, - but we can't have more than six minutes.
Now it's 2:30 in the morning and I'm with the others while a very noisy raid is in progress. It was exactly 4 weeks ago, on Tuesday that you were with us in another raid, very similar to this one. We spoke of you - nice things, of course. Bubi was so exhausted by a ghastly day following a long horrible month of separation that she could only lie on the couch, trembling. Not scared, just completely worn out. T. walked about making coffee as usual! H. said his mother had sent him things to make a cake, so the Great Day when a cake will be made is now looming!
Darling, I absolutely refuse to wait another month - and God knows how much longer, to see you. You may be restricted, but for the moment, I am NOT. We must see each at once. They may impose a general ban on travel soon, so let's take advantage of our freedom and meet before things get too tied up tight. I'll meet you any day, anywhere, even if it's only for an hour. I have many things I want to say to you - things I had planned to say on your next leave. Things I can't say in letters, or over the phone.
Now, for details. You must inquire if the nearest place is within the area banned to civilian travel. I believe this is a, six-mile-from-the-coast ban, on the East and South-East coasts. If you know anyone who has a house, or a room, where I could meet you, all the better. I would be content to sit in a railway station with you for an hour and then take the train back to London.
When we do meet - don't be shocked at the way I look! In the last month, I have got so thin that I'm just a few elegant bones to hang clothes on. My wee face has almost disappeared. I'm just a waif, still quite pretty, only in an ethereal way that is startling!
I have given up eating, altogether. There is nothing to eat, for one thing. The food position has suddenly got much, much worse. The meat ration for the last 2 weeks was just scraps. Wouldn't have given them to my dog. Have eaten up all the butter I had, the cupboard is bare.
Darling, they managed things better in the Napoleonic wars, when the women followed the regiments! That would have suited me much better!
("Wot's them there vivandieres wot yer reads about, Alf?"
"Don't yer know? W'y, them's whores de combat.")
If I could follow you round, I'd rather like to be one of those whores de combat!
Wednesday April 19.
Tonight I am all alone, Tam has gone out of town and will not be back until late tomorrow night. I am utterly depressed, facing a lonely night in this big house fills me with horror.
I had the wild wish that you could be with me tonight, crazy I know, but I can dream, can't I? Thought I'd go to a movie, but decided not to, there might be a message from you.
Early this morning your 2 letter-cards arrived, "I will arrange some sort of meeting for us - as soon as the opportunity presents itself. I can't stand not seeing you - it's driving me buggy. It's very hard to be patient, but we have no alternative."
Yes, darling, "some sort of a meeting", no matter how long or where. I'll hold myself ready to fly to you at a moment's notice, and I'll bring a small suitcase to take back my book and things you may have for me - can also bring you the clothes you have here - do you want them? shoes, underwear, etc.?
You ask me please not to get in a state about you. Well, sweetest love, I have been crying, without stopping, ever since yesterday afternoon. Too weak, now, to pull myself together.
Darling, I can be patient and wait - if there is any hope of this situation ending in our being together. When you say things like "never" - you send me into a place too deep down in darkness and despair for me to crawl out of.
Gerry, don't say things like that if you want your Bubi to go on living.
Answer this right away.
9:00 P.M. Wednesday, April 19 -
(Should have been one of our nights.)
I am your true love, and you are mine.
Sorry this offering of Spearmint is so very humble. Wish I could send you fifty packets - but I'm not a Capitalist like Andy! I'm just a poor Proletariat-ess who only possess 22 shillings to last until May 1st!
Will this day and night ever end . . . All last night and today I thought if its as bad as this, now, it must get better soon - yet, in an hour or so, it was worse. I never knew such a sense of personal loss. You are the only person I ever knew who could take all the love I was capable of giving - who wanted and needed this love - and who could give me back as much, and more.
If I cannot be a real person in your life, a vital influence, a part of your background, the one you count on, the one you tell things to, the person who understands the inner heart of that complex person, Gerry. I WON'T be a memory. If I can't be, a really important person in your life, past, present and future, why, then I just don't want to live. That's how much you mean to me. That is the measure of it.
Wednesday April 19, 10:30 PM
LOVE ME ALWAYS
Weds. April 19, or no, now it is Thurs. the 20th. one o'clock in the morning.
My Own Boy,
My night alone is passing with cruel slowness. It is dark, and raining hard.
It rains in the street - and it rains in my heart.
I don't know how many letters I've written you today, I think four. I don't do it to ease the pain, or even to give you pleasure. I write to fill the hours, for time is standing still, and it is a time of such pain that I don't know how I am going to get through it.
Darling, you must help me.
With what wild hope did this day open? Why, of course, that a miracle would happen, and my crazy redhead would suddenly turn up - in his mad way - to spend the night with me! (He is always so resourceful, he'll manage it somehow!)
11 o'clock came - my eyes were glued to the green telephone; midnight, oh well, there is still lots of time - 1:15, I can't kid myself any longer. I'm afraid for you. Did something happen to you? Are you all right? The slightest failure of communications between us and I begin to see those headlines - "Berlin this morning, - 1,000 tons dropped."
I received four letters. There are some things I want to reply to. Dearest, when you write, always tell me which letter you got, and reply to little things here and there - that way it makes a conversation.
No, darling, you should NOT say such a frightful thing to one as sensitive as I. Not see me again? Do you mean not ever? That is what it sounds like. How could you say that, darling to anyone who loves you so much.
I've been as brave as brave, for a month without you. Now I'm on the verge of collapse. In two days I've lost 7 pounds - I weighed myself today. I can't eat and I feel most frightfully ill. It has gone beyond just feeling the strain. It's turning into a physical illness acute enough to frighten me. I can hardly see out of my eyes, they are so bunged up.
I'm only telling you this because I want you to understand that I need your help. You must be truthful, but don't be pessimistic about our chances of meeting again. I regard the chances as being pretty good, and what I want is to feel that you are as determined to see me as I am to see you and that I can count on your strength. This is no moment for either of us to have any irresponsible thoughts.
I went to the railroad station today to inquire what places were banned to civilians. They could not tell me, if you want to go to any place you must first write to the police station in that town, and ask them if you can come there as a traveler. That's what I want you to do immediately, my darling. If there is any town near you, ask the police whether it is all right for you to have your girl meet you there. (Or your mother! Well, I'm both, aren't I, dearest!) Write and tell me.
Find a place for us to meet, perhaps the railroad station? I'll bring a bag so that I can bring you any of your things you may want, and can take back my book, etc. Do you need the glasses you left here? The handkerchiefs with your name in my writing.
Please try to fix this up soon - for there may be a general "stand-still order", soon. This hasn't happened yet. I can travel anywhere except within six miles of the coast. Pick a place that's seven miles, and then we escape the ban!
My reason for haste is that I need help over this first bad time of trying to get used to doing without you. I need help pretty quickly - or I don't know what I might do.
You said if you could arrange a meeting "it would only be for a few hours at most - but what wouldn't I give for a few hours". You said: "Miss you so much, Bubi, not in a physical way so much, - just to see you and talk to you would be all I'd ask for." - as usual - you and I are feeling the same way about things. In spite of a month's separation, our stream of consciousness is still joining, flowing along as one. I have arrived at the same stage as you, in my love and longing. Sex has become unimportant in comparison with the great need we have - just to be together. What wouldn't I give just to see you and talk to you, for three, two, even one hour.
This mutual feeling of ours shows the link of love we have for each other. We are able to love each other, live with, and in each other - and yet be true to ourselves. We've talked for whole days on end with such brutal frankness that we know each other in an honest clear-eyed way, and we liked what we saw. We didn't use self-hypnotism and "work up" a state of idealized worship. We worship each other, and adore each other, because of real things.
The time has arrived when our relationship is stripped of all the pretty veils of sex, kisses, sweet-spoken words, Chanel Five, fun going to the theatre, and lying round lazy and warm and comfy and happy. All those things are gone. YET WE STILL NEED EACH OTHER. Not to dance together, or screw, talk, or laugh. There is nothing left, now, but suffering. All we want is - just to be together.
When people love each other dearly, yet have to be parted they say: "I'll keep your place in my heart, always." I can't say this to you, my dear one, because, You ARE my heart.
April 15-19 1944