• June 18, 1918

    Dear Lyla,

    How are you and Luca? How is life in the city? How well are, our families doing? Is Luca behaving himself or being a handful? Have you finished your nurse training, Lyla? If you did, I bet you passed with honours and flying colours. Some of our high school friend’s husbands are in the same regiment as me, and they send their love to their wives and children back home. But I love you and Luca, a thousand times more than those other husbands love their own wives. Right now, my regiment is fighting our way to France.

    The trenches on the front lines are a mess. Mud, fallen comrades, rats and mud-caked soldiers are in this small space. Compared to no-man’s land, the trenches have to make due. Despite the trenches is the worse place to be in here, but in the spring time, is a disaster, in the trenches. Mud is everywhere and on everything. Also in the spring, in Normandy, the rain fall is heavier, compared to Vancouver’s downpour in the winter. Just to let you know, whenever it rains in battle, I remember dancing and kissing you passionately, in the rain in Vancouver’s down town square. The rats and lice are becoming a norm now, since every trench I traveled to have them, and even on the enemy’s side, they have them. The smell of rotting corpses of fallen comrades fills in our lungs, everyday and the stench gets worse from place to place. Seeing young families, like ours, or wives and their children, lying dead on the side of the roads, puts me in anguish and pain, for not being by yours and Luca’s side or not tucking him in at night. There is not a day that goes by missing the both of you. Also seeing those dead families, wives and children, make me break down inside, and start to cry, even though you and Luca are safe. Sounds of bullets and guns going off rattle my brain, of disturbing images. The cries of wounded comrades, echo through my thoughts and haunt me through my sleep. The occasional bird that does come by, brings sweet music to my, hardened ears. If you spoke to me, as I am writing this letter to you, your voice would be like the best singer angel in heaven. Hearing harsh voices and piercing screams, rattle and deafen my brain day in and day out. The water taste like a faint copper mixed with feces and mud. When I come home to you, the water will taste sweet as honey and sugar. As the cold, whipping wind howls throughout the night, I keep hearing your voice calling for me, “Dmitri, come home to me.” Always, you sound like you are sad and crying. Please do not cry. I am coming home very soon. I miss you so much that my heart is in agony.

    Through times of agonizing loneliness for you, I would remember the first day I met you, Lyla. Your long, wavy, silky-smooth, light brown hair blowing in the wind, on a bright, joyous sunny day, was like heaven coming to earth, in the dead of winter. Your red rose cheeks were perfect, between a heavenly nose. Those deep, crystal-glass, ocean eyes, that was filled with joy, happiness and hope, I thought I lost myself in your eyes. A voice and a laughter that could make an angel, green with envy, how beautiful it sounded the, when you said hi, to me on your first day at our high school. You smelled sweeter than a honeysuckle flower and homemade bread, right out of the oven, on a worm, spring day. Also your sweet, juicy red raspberry lips that could melt chocolate on a hot summer day. Honestly writing, you looked breathe-taking on our wedding day, Lyla. I could not take my eyes off you. Even just for a second, I could not take my eyes off you. That tight, slimming wedding dress upon your body, I thought, I had died and gone to heaven. I was, and still am very thankful, that I married you. Now we have a two year old son named Luca, who is beautiful as his mother. Same wavy, brown hair and deep blue eyes, that makes you go lost, just looking into them. I am coming home real soon.

    I am counting down the days till the war ends and then I can come to you and Luca. Your letters were treated like gold and comforted me, in my darkest moments. During these two hard years, your letters reminded me that you where always there with me, every step of the way. My ever-lasting love never flagged. The pictures you sent of yourself, Luca, family and friends, gave me hope and faith, when I had none at all. My heart belongs to you and Luca. My body may belong to the Empire, but my lonely, anguished, distraught, faithful; loving heart is yours and only yours. When I return home to you, my breath-taking bride, may I ask for a dance upon the platform of hope? Please met me or I will faint and collapse of exhaustion. I am so sorry, my darling that I have to finish this wonderful letter for you, but my regiment is moving to a new spot, 3 miles south. Now the British Empire has a winning chance, with those 3 miles, that was shortly gained. I love you, Lyla. I love you with all my heart, body and soul.

    From your faithful husband,
    Dmitri (Dima)

    PS – I will always love you, no matter what.