From a Sailor to his Sweetheart

August 8th
At sea

Dearest Soul,
At sea, the horizon remains the same distance away, day after day, neither receding nor advancing. The sun rises every morning in the place I came from yesterday, arcs across the sky, sets every evening in the place I will be tomorrow. It is the second most constant occurrence in my life.

My dear, your love is first to greet me when morning arrives, attends me all day long, brushes my eyes closed when sleep comes. Your love comforts my dreams, soothes my heart, nourishes my soul, strengthens me to face each day. This, your love for me, is the most constant occurrence in my life.

I am known aboard ship as the one who smiles. I am sometimes referred to as “Smiley.” I don’t mind and rather like my callsign. When others ask why I smile so often, I respond that I am happy, that is all. Sailors generally smile back and shake their heads at my reply, laughing inside, I suppose, at my simplicity.

Sweetheart, it is true that I am happy, and the reason for that happiness is simple: you are my happiness. Your love is showered upon me when I receive your letters at mail call. Your love surrounds me as I read your letters while sitting on the bow of this great ship as it rises and falls with the sea. Your love floats from the page in the fragrance of your paper. Your love guides my eyes as I spell out each word, sound aloud each syllable, hear your essence in every phrase, memorize every paragraph. I cherish the touch of the paper you held oh so many days before. I press my lips to the envelope your lips touched before mine.

The pink that is your favorite color, the pink of the paper and envelope, the deeper pink of the words, brings a smile to my lips. I see you then, in the pink and gray you wore when we parted on the pier so many months ago, the San Diego skyline behind you, the springtime sun warm on my neck. I feel the touch of your forehead on mine as we leaned together, hands clasped, warm teardrops dappling our fingers. I dabbed at your tears with my neckerchief. You said you would miss me. I said I would miss you more. You said you would write every day. I said I would write every day, too.

Oh darling, I cannot wait for my return so that I may hold you in my arms, rather than so inadequately as I do in my dreams, for my dreams contain but a vestige of you, a memory of you, that brings only brief joy before I wake and realize you are so many thousands of miles away. I long to see you there, standing on the pier, your hair blowing with the sea breeze, your lovely smile radiating warmth and love. I see you now, seated in your chair, the soft light of the table lamp illuminating your lips as they silently read my letter. How I wish we were sitting together.

Dearest love, goodnight for now,

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