In Case I Die

Private William Engelbretson, already wary of war, knows that his days are numbered. At this point, he just wants that long boat ride home, but will still carry out his duty. Already initiated into the brotherhood of war he stays… but he writes two letters in the event of his death. The first letter, written to a special someone, was found in his right hand after his death. The second, was found in his right chest pocket, written to his mother.

Dearest Elena,

If you have received this letter, I have perished in the heat of battle. I am sorry that we never got to have that special dinner in Madrid… and I had really hoped that I could bring you to America and show you around New York City. Alas, because I am now gone, we will not be able to spend time together anymore. But I write this letter to tell you feelings that I could not express before. There is a torrent of things I would like to say, but I feel that it is best accomplished by a poem.

You smile,
I smile
You walk,
No, you glide softly by me changing day into night
You open your mouth to speak, and so sounds ring in my head
You speak, and I want to dance to your rhythm
You move ever so gently, increasing my desires,
And I want to place my arms around your waist,
Hold and squeeze you unto me,
I want to melt into your body, and discover the base of your warmth

You’re love
You’re truth
You’re real
As real as the stars that shine in the heavens
As real as the sun that bathes your body,
As real as the moon that glows and the birds that sing and the rose
That blossoms in spring for you are that rose
And not just any rose,
But a Spanish rose,
A Spanish rose that stands tall and stronger than any other plant
A Spanish rose that stands as creator of Spanish rose
That never loses her petals, and blossoms all year round

Even though we never made love
We were all that there was
It was because I loved you so much, that I had to leave
You made me doubt the way I thought, you made me want to believe
And then I slipped up, and I let you get close to me
I died a virgin, I wish I could have given myself to you
Even if our months together was only a few

Love Always,

Dear Mother,

I hope you are well, but after you finish this letter, you will probably not be. By the time you read this, I’ll probably be dead. I am sorry for running away from home to join the fighting here in the war at Spain. I know I must have caused you great grief when you found me missing, but even more grief by dying. But I know that Timothy will take care of you even without me, but know that at least I died for a good cause. He will help you with the bakery too; or perhaps you will find yourself lifted into high society.

I have learned many things in my time here. First off, fascism is a perverse ideology that threatens both the liberal and communist worlds, and must be stopped. If it is not stopped in Spain, then it will have to be stopped elsewhere… and many people will die. Their methods are cruel; but I guess war in general is cruel. I have murdered men in cold blood before. War… it changes people for better or for worse. But it exposes us, both as individuals and in groups, to the most adverse conditions, and by doing so it brings out humanity in all its baseness and all its glory.

Another lesson I have learned is about comradeship; if I can correctly quote Shakespeare in Henry V, “From this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”

Finally, I have met a nice girl… her name is Elena and I find her a most exquisite butterfly amidst a world of conflict. But unfortunately, I was not alive long enough to enjoy more of her company though I sorely wished that she could be my companion.

All in all, my life had a good run. If there is an Afterlife, I shall await your arrival. Mothers were not supposed to outlive their children, I know, but my explanation is above. I love you, mother. Goodbye.

Your Loving Son,

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