Nights have gotten colder. The days are darker as the shrapnel draws nearer. Oh how I miss our days spent together. Do you recall the days at the beach? When the sun had rested perfectly over us, wrapping us in its warmth and light, as if our days would never be disgraced with gloom and darkness? I savor these memories as if they were still mine to cling to. But these memories are not mine anymore. They belong to the man who had waved a sorrowful goodbye to you on the boat that sailed him the farthest he has ever gone.
Now a new man rests in his place. He is frightened of the noises, of the cries and the echo of bullet shells piercing skulls and clanking to the floor as if they rained down endlessly. This man cannot think of anything else but his inevitable death as he runs through the fields of darkness, doing his best to survive and return to you, the woman who still knows the man he used to be. For the man you hold was kind, considerate, and brave. But I am not that man. These battles of rage consume the minds of men, forcing them to fight for the children and the women who reside in their homes. The man that I am is terrified of having to pull the trigger of the gun that rests at his shoulder. This man does not sleep for he fears his blood and that of his comrades will splash onto his face and collect onto the already streaming river of red.
Delilah, my love. The memory of you is all that I have to keep me from letting myself fade into the darkness. It is all that keeps me from standing frozen in the middle of the screaming and the haze of the dancing bullets and letting that fatal blow pierce my chest, the very chest where you once rested your delicate head. Though I am not the man of courage and compassion any longer, I am still the man that loves you, that you love. This war has made me cowardly and has caused my bravery to flee me just as the blood flees from the flesh of men as the silver smoke leaves their bodies. My heart aches for you. I long to be in your slender and loving arms, sitting on the porch I had built for you. I wish to stroke the hand which holds the ring I had just given to you before I was told to depart. That ring still gleams, I am sure, with hope, with joy, and with love. I wear my ring on my neck, 'round the tags that will identify my lame corpse as it lays defeated in a field of green, where the gardenias grow.
I fear that this body of mine, once caressed by your soft porcelain skin, kissed by your gentle lips, will be collected and thrown among the rest of the tattered and bloodied bodies, the stench and the flies clinging to them. How pitiful to be gathered in death in such a vast land of beauty, where the nature is free and in full bloom. Oh Delilah, what a sight it is. You would smile if you saw it. It makes me think that this war is all a dream, that the uniform I wear is fake, that the helmet atop my head is only a result of my randomness. The field is lined by trees of so many kinds, lush and green. The grass is taller than my knees and yet is the place where men never return from. The white gardenias glimmer as they decorate the vast fields of war, some tainted and burdened with the stinging color of crimson. The birds used to sing, but even they do not dare approach. They, too, fear the sound of the harrowing shells, the enemy's thundering steps, and the cries of men.
My only hope is to be brave enough to return to you. My wishes are not for myself, the shameful man that I am, but for you, the true purity that graces these lands of war. I wish to see your smile as I walk up that long paved driveway, meeting you as you sit in the garden, your lovely yellow dress about you. You would rise and have tears of relief in your eyes as I opened my arms and ran to you. Your hair would tickle my nose and remind me of its rosy scent as you jump into my embrace, holding me as if your life depended upon it. Your warmth alone would make up for all the cold nights I had spent in the wet mud. Your lips would meet mine as if for the first time and the very last, with all the emotion you could muster. I would whisper and tell you how much I had missed you and how much my love for you has pushed me to remain alive. Tears would race down my cheeks from the sheer happiness of being able to hold you again. Your beautiful face would be illuminated by that smile that has always warmed my very being.
Alas, the war has taken your smile. My heart knows it now. I may never return to you. For these days are growing dimmer and more desolate as my enemies soon rank more than my comrades. This gun that I hold is but a useless thing in my hands because I can never bring myself, a cowardly man, to pull that corroded trigger. Delilah, you are the only woman I have ever loved. You will always be the woman I loved and it shames me to think that we will never reach the chapel, never say our vows, and never raise the children we so desired. I pray each night that I will be able to return to you, but I fear that this may be the last letter I ever write to you. Forgive me if that becomes so.
Remember that I love you, Delilah, and that it is you that my power and will to win this war courses through. It is through you that I will return. Remain safe and do not fret too badly. Please smile for me.