June 22, 1945
This letter is to wish you many happy returns of the day. Quite a time yet, before your birthday, but I'm told the A.P.O. has gone haywire, owing to the amount of moving about the troops are doing. I know you don't like your books handpicked, but felt sure of my ground in sending you, for a modest birthday gift, Roget's Thesaurus. Any man, who wants to write, or do public speaking, would find a dictionary of synonyms an invaluable time-saver. It's a handy size to carry about, and a good companion to the Oxford dictionary we gave you. A'm also sending you some nice shaving lotions from the U.S.
The modesty of these gifts rather embarrassed me, darling - I only send them to remind you that I love and miss you, the same as always. How I wish that the dictionary was a check for $20,000.00!! Well, some day, darling . . . after I have dug for my Buried Treasure . . .
WhenTam. comes home, evenings, he always says: "Still no news from Gerry? Well, I can't make it out!"
Tonight, while we were having dinner in the kitchen, I kept thinking, how wonderful it would be to go off now to meet Gerry and dine at the Ivy. Not having seen each other for so long, we'd have thousands of things to tell each instead of hundreds, as we usually do. Then I read in the paper about the "Queens" - Mary and Elizabeth - sailing with thousands of the Air Force, and was filled with such a pain that you might have gone without saying good-bye. I went up to my room and walked the floor in such agony of mind that I wondered how I could get through the night without morphine to help. I have been seriously contemplating suicide for no other reason than that after sixty-two days of exactly the same pain that never stops. I am growing too weak to bear it.
The only thing preventing me from taking this cowardly step is; first, I would be ashamed of myself if I could not summon the courage to bear the unbearable. And second, because I remember the letters you often wrote me, which were furious and angry because you were "In a mood", and were giving me hell! These cross pages would always end the same way: "But I love you, and know it's mutual - "we can always straighten things out."
We always did. Which is the one thing that gives me hope that we can straighten THIS out --- whatever it is.
Bernard Shaw said: "The end of a love affair is the end of happiness, and the beginning of peace."
But when shall I find this peace? Not until I know, for certain, that our friendship is safe, and will always continue.
The one thing we always promised each other from the word "go" was that we must never lose our friendship - and, somehow, throughout these 62 days of cruel indifference and silence on your part, I have not had the feeling that you had stopped loving me. I know that a major love affair has vast powers of rejuvenation.
It can be reborn in the purified form of a dear, close friendship. But I also know that I may be seeking the impossible in wishing such a sexy boy as you to love me as a friend, as a person? - not as a woman. It may be that sex is the only incentive strong enough to draw you to spend a few hours in a woman's company? Anyway, I'm going to try to be brave for a few days longer, because of that one thing you repeated a thousand times:
"You'll never lose me, BUBI -"
June 24, 1945
This is your friend from the letters every week! But this is not a letter. It's my hand, groping round to find you.
And it's a last despairing squeak about WILL YOU TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR THINGS!
Kit bag: contains assorted undies, including blue-striped shorts very nice ones. Pair of shoes, socks, shaving things and toothbrushes. The photograph frame and 4 handkerchiefs I gave you for Christmas.
Film I had printed for your friend, who must want it. Most boys set great store by their snaps. Send me his address, I'll post it.
PLEASE advise darling. If I don't hear from you in a week, I'll start sending some by registered mail, but bag and suit are too big.
You are very welcome to keep anything of mine that you borrowed, dearest. I only wanted my letters because combined with yours, they make a complete record of these two thrilling years of war and a rare love. Some day I might make a book of it, but would need my letters as well as yours to do this. Have about 500 of your precious letters, and would not part with one for a handful of rubies.
So please don't lose mine, darling. I'm hoping that when you have left England you'll start writing me again. Jack London and his friends wrote to each other for many, many years. Then they made a book. Ours would make just as interesting a book, though of a very different kind.
Ho-hum. Life is so dull without My Gerry, and My War. Ben Lyon says he and I are like retired fire-horses longing for the sound of the clanging bell. I'd give anything to be back in '44, sitting in the kitchen at midnight, with you and Tam. and Harry, while the buzz-bombs stutter over us! - The sirens! - the big fire-raid I wrote you about . . . my "Nights Off", you kissing me good-bye in the cold dawn and then going to a Red Cross Center to write me a rapturous letter, while you drank your coffee. "Are you sure you have no Negro blood, Bubi?" . . . That was life extended to it's fullest, wasn't it dearest.
(What a wonderfully rich store of memories we have in common.)
Had quite a pleasant birthday. Tam. took me to "The Wind of Heaven" (which I'd been saving up to see with you.) Couldn't decide whether it was good or not. But it was different. Which is always something! Had some nice lines: "A man is tied to the stake of his limitations . . . "A woman breathes through her body, and her soul - but she can only breath deeply through a man." How true that is of me. My breathing is so shallow, these days; the least thing would stop it altogether.
Well, worrying about what is happening to you for so long has practically made my arteries snap like pipe-stems! Scared you might be in hospital. If you are, hope you have a super nurse. (Difference between super nurse and super-duper nurse; super nurse makes the bed without disturbing the patient - and super-duper nurse makes the patient without disturbing the bed.)
Which reminds me of my sex-life - THERE ISN'T ANY! I couldn't be more surprised! I planned to have one as being the quickest method of weaning myself from you. Instead, I found I was in the frame of mind of a widow who has lost an adored husband with stunning suddenness. Although she is racked with grief and loneliness, she cannot bring herself to marry again until years have passed. Remember the U.S. General and U.S.N. Commander who were courting me? Well, I "vetted" them on alternate dates, trying to make up my mind. Oh, darling, what a month THAT was! The General could only talk about horses (he breeds 'em, races and hunts). He would take me to lunch at the United Hunt Club - Tried to make me ride in the Park, mornings! The Commander was (mentally) the Niagara of all Drips. Between the two I was crushed to earth by cliches, mass-manufactured opinions, etc. So I dropped both projects. Meanwhile, I refreshed my mind with 4 platonic comrades; boys of your age. The latest Collector's Item in this group was a soldier, 6 ft. 2 in. of gladiatorial proportions with a kind of John Garfield face on top, most intriguing. He and I had one thing in common; we were both in love with a beautiful redhead! Most of our time together was spent talking about our redheads - his was a ballet-dancer in the U.S.
I'd look at him and think: "How superb, how young, how nice, how virile - and then wonder why I couldn't get excited. He was more than willing - but . . . nothing happened.
Gerry, what's wrong with me? Am I very under-sexed? Why are you the only man I can have that feeling of togetherness and belonging? Darling, I have actually not had one orgasm since the last one I had with you on April 9th! (Not even in a dream.)
So here I am, STILL faithful to my redhead after one year and ten months. It must be some kind of a record.
9 Southwick Street
Cambridge Square W. 2.
June 26, 1945
Love - and birthday greetings from Tam and Me. (Sent too early because they may take some time to reach you.)
Am sending my own Roget's Thesaurus, as I was unable to buy one. Am sure it will be really useful.
Enclosed is check for L3, and some securities, which need explaining. The search for Hidden Treasure has begun! Remember how we always said that if we ever had anything much we'd share it with each other, the way families do. Well, I want you to have these shares to use for expenses during the first year of college after you're de-mobbed - I'll make the transfer to your name as soon as I get across - you won't need it before then. Meanwhile, keep these as an earnest reminder of me. I won't go back on my promise. I never do, as you know so well.
Later, there will be much more - we hope! Half of it I'll share with you. I want you to have at least two years of college without a harassing financial struggle to make concentrating on your work difficult.
The little check? Well, darling, will you use it when you get to the U.S. to make a 3 minute telephone call to me, just to let me know you have arrived safely - and other things which an Auxiliary Mummy likes to know.
I love you with all my heart
If you're not going oversees for a while, use the check to drink a toast to "Absent Friends" on your birthday.