Words of the Heart

My dearest Jack,

I miss you. I am sorry to start a letter with such a melancholy sentiment, but it is true. It has been so long since I saw you last and though people may say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, what they forget to say is that it also makes the spirit heavier.

Do you remember the day you signed up? The fair was in town for the week and everyone had dressed up in their Sunday best to go and have some fun. I remember you had just bought me two lengths of cornflower blue ribbon, despite the fact that I said it cost too much. 'It'll match your eyes', you said giving me the devil-may-care grin that always caught me at the heart and made me go weak at the knees. We found ourselves drawn into the crowd around the soldiers, listening as the recruiting sergeant spun a tale of riches and glory. You were enraptured, lost in words, the adventure of the tale. It was then that I knew you were going to sign up. It was inevitable.

The day you left is as clear in my mind as if it were yesterday. You looked at me with those dark, laughing eyes of yours and told you wouldn't be gone for long and that I shouldn't worry. You said that you and the rest of the lads would send Napoleon packing in no time at all and that you would be back again by Christmas, weighed down with treasure and smothered in glory. Well, it is Christmas; two years later. I haven't had a letter from you in months. It's getting harder and harder to remember what you look like and I can't hear your voice in my head as clearly as I once did.

I haven't forgotten you though, not like some of the other girls in the village have forgotten their lads. I still put a candle in the window every night, just like I promised you I would. My mother grumbles how expensive the candles are nowadays, but I don't care. A promise is a promise.

The funny thing is, is that the candle blew out a couple of nights ago, died just like that. I don't know how it happened as I always make sure it is sheltered and protected on the windowsill. Of course, my mother started going about how it is an omen and only bad will come of it, but I don't listen. You told me once that superstitions and omens were a load of nonsense. Science was the way forwards you said. Science was the future. Then you'd rattle off on one of your rants about something you'd read in a journal somewhere by someone or another and most of the time I'd have no idea what you were on about. I didn't care though; it was just enough to listen to your voice.

My mother keeps going on about how the candle going out so suddenly like that meant that you were dead. I don't believe her or all of the superstitious rubbish she comes up with, I believe you.

Because I would know if you were dead. I would feel it somehow and deep down inside of me I would know. Wouldn't I?

Write to me soon, Jack, and please, please come home safely.

Faithfully yours with much love,

Your Edie