“I also thought that he was leaving the paper blank, with no description of the wardrobe’s contents, because he was too overwhelmed by desire to write without trembling.” Page 29 in Ru by Kim Thuy.
My Dearest Sophia,
I lay awake at night trembling, fingers shaking and heart racing. I long to be near you. We have 80 days left of being apart. 80 days of hard days and infinite nights. Tell me about our daughter. Is she walking yet? Has she spoken her first word? I miss her small fingers, her blue eyes. I miss her laughter echoing throughout the house. Our house. I miss our house.
It’s dark where I am. The dust layers everything, a film of lost hope. I hear the echoes of shots as I lay in my tent. The flicker of moths flying around my lamp. My bunk mate tells me about her family back home. Two daughters, about to start junior high school. She whispers to me through the layer of black. I have blisters on my feet and my hands. A rash where the strap of my helmet sits. My muscles are tired and my bones ache. All I have left with me is a photo of you and Alexandra. Holding hands, smiling at the camera. I took it before I left on my first tour. Remember? Don’t forget about me. I’ll be home soon, I promise.
Sophia held the letter in her hands. A tear rolled down her cheek and dropped onto the letter, smudging the words. She laid the letter on top of the coffin. She watched, out of breath, as they lowered it into the ground.