Second Lieutenant John Atkins was a young man of faith. He believed that to win a girl’s heart one must use surprise, concentration, audacity, and have an aggressive, but gentle, tempo. In John’s mind, there was no difference between romance and tactics. He spent fifteen out of the thirty days every month in the field where every day the rain would come and never leave. He would lead his men through currents that failed to relent and storms that blew from all cardinal directions on a mission that would repeat itself, regardless of what ends up accomplished. His men believed in him, or so he thought, and those thoughts of competence kept his spirits in check. But it didn’t make him happy. It was the letters he wrote at night, to her, that kept him alive.
A letter isn’t the right term. It was more like poetry. Half-assed poetry, but still poetry. His headlight on a low red lense and covered under his sleeping bag so he wouldn’t wake up the men, he wrote a poetry to the woman every night. John Atkins never dabbled in poetry or any of that kind of nonsense unless he was forced too. This letter, when she read it, would show that he was out there working tirelessly for ‘ideas’ greater than himself but that he still had her on his mind. He wanted her to understand that he had fallen hard enough for her to even succumb this. It would be the type of poem she would swoon over, read several times throughout the day and eventually write back to him in three little words: “I miss you.” At least that’s how he imagined it.
And then the rain would come again and the ink, and the letters, would run and run until the depression’s would swell and swallow them whole.