Wishing for Time
July 20, 1945
To: Levi Cross
From: Evelyn Anderson
So, you’re alive.
I’m hanging so tightly to that maybe!
You won’t get this letter. How would it find you? Stranded in the ruins of newly free Paris, unknown address, badly wounded.
Running out of time. We all are.
Soon I’ll be out of this rickety old apartment and — to where?
I’m sorry I sent you away the day you enlisted, when I said I never wanted to see your face again. I lied. I wanted to see your face every day for the rest of my life. I was afraid and tired of being brave. The newspaper pictures, the names, no butter — we were so young. How could we be eighteen and almost out of time?
I turned twenty-three last week. A gray hair in my brush today. Wrinkle cream tomorrow.
I found your mother. They wouldn’t let me near her bombed out apartment but we smacked our lips over sugarless tea, and she handed me a packet of your letters.
I’m sorry for never telling you I moved. I didn’t think you would write.
I was going to read them slowly: all forty-nine of your crumpled, precious letters. But one turned into fifteen and a glorious night burning up my candle rationing.
Wounded in Paris.
But I’m coming. I’m going to find you if I have to knock on every door in Paris, if I have to sort through every graveyard and linen closet. Neither power of darkness nor eternal butter rationing will keep us apart.
Remember that night in the park — I asked what you wished for?
You whispered “happy endings and a dangerous life”.
I told you that the truth is: you can only have one.
I take it back. You were right — weren’t you? You are my dangerous life and my happy ending, and I’m going to find you if I have to bike all the way to Paris.
And then, maybe, on a broken hospital bed, we’ll have time to tell the truth.