December 24, 1916
Mary, my Mrs. Mary Bradley. How I wish I was at home. Forgive my lack of stoicism? I won’t break, but only in bending will I be strong. If I let my insides out to you–reveal all that is true and sincere–there will be mire with each bravery, weakness thatched with armour. Can you listen, Mary? Which is to say: read what is in my heart. Then burn this page if you must, but better you know me fully. I am still your husband.
First, the most important thing is that I did not dance with her. I can hear you now: John Bradley, what’s this nonsense?
Yes, sweet Mary, let’s call it that: nonsense. Then let’s never speak of it again. Have it out then, you are saying. Even annoyed, your voice in my memory is an elixir.
This is it: last week, in the very cold, the Brigade Chaplain gathered us for a short service before granting a few hours leave. First the brass band honked out their bloody carols. You know how I desist them. Can we not enjoy Christmas pudding without “… A-Wasseling” year after year? No, I did not sing. Now I imagine your laughter. Oh, dear Mary, I miss you so.
The sermon was on the vital importance of release for the married men. Present circumstances, the Chaplain indicated, require that we be excused from faithfulness in order to maintain optimal health.
Mary, I would rather be with you than in paradise on a tropical shore overlooking calm blue waters. Your presence is the only luxury for which I thirst. How I wish I could be dancing now in your arms, burrowed in your warmth in front of our fire, my love. My love.
But I am here in the cold muddy snow, in these filthy trenches, and even if we persistently asked that the cavalry be stopped, this is my duty.
So I went to the address on the scrap of paper the Chaplain handed out. I took three francs and I told myself you would want this. You would want that woman’s fingers unclasping my belt, her hands cupping my bum inside my trousers, her grasp on my firmness. You would want this more than my own heavy breathing and yanking in a slit trench.
She knelt down, Mary, and put me in her mouth. I did not touch her hair. I kept my eyes closed. I folded my arms over my chest, clenched my fists tight.
Her red lips squeezed my base, her whole mouth an organ, tongue suckling. As you read this, Mary, could you pretend it was us? For me? Pretend those hands were yours: holding my balls, stroking them, gripping my cock, pulling it, pumping it. It would be us if I were there, Mary. And if I live, it will be us again.
Only, I will caress your hair as you take me in. Then, after my first wave bursts, I will join you on my knees. And I will enter your arms, your legs, your womb, I will lift you and ride you and kiss your every lip. Lick the center of your bum, dive into your walls, Mary I miss you so!
Can you stop the cavalry?
Pretend I was brave, Mrs. Bradley.
Signed, your loving husband.
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