Antonia's Letter Home

Letter to Swindon

It's so good to hear from you. I hope you and Robert are well, and give my love to Elisabeth. I've sent Mum several letters but I've heard nothing from her. Please tell her I love her, and that I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
It is rather lonely here. It seems if one does not wish to be lonely, they must either be a man or throw themselves at one. Neither circumstance sounds particularly appetizing, so I simply remind myself that I have a job to do. I do often miss being a nurse. I have become acutely aware lately of how much I miss being smiled at. I try to make do by watching others smile instead. One man called me a devil the other day. I think that was the first evening in ages that I cried. How I miss the days when I could cry without feeling like a child, Genna. How I wish I could tell Elisabeth to treasure this time of hers. But I know she wouldn't understand.
I have met some good men here. It shocks me how different they all are. There is a man here from India, of whom I was so frightened at first. You remember what Father has told us about men from that land. But this man is extraordinary, Genna. I can't help but feel that his world has been cheated of him by this war. But I am too afraid to say such a thing to him.
Aunt Mary sent me a notice last week from her Women's Club. They've decided that they'll organize a bit of a welcome home once this is over. Free typing lessons, so that I may take my unpolished wartime skills and apply them somewhere useful. I would show her a more useful application for that typewriter of hers if I weren't so sure she might fall over with a coronary. I fear I have grown terribly caustic these days.
I have become more and more convinced that I shan't be returning to Swindon after this is done. I don't know what I will do. But I have heard so much from these men about their worlds that the thought of returning to the stillness of my own is unbearable. I hope that something will guide me towards where I need to go. I do hope.
Your little sister,

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