April 27th 1950
Who'd have thought I'd be writing in this old thing again? I thought it was done after the war
, and after
But I've seen him again. I've seen Mitch again. I'd got a letter from him... must have got my address from the publishers. Anyway, he'd invited me to his house in Trenton
(the one that was supposed to be our house) to see him - and Becky. It was awkward.
He's so changed. He drinks too much and knows it, and because he knows it, he drinks even more. It's hard now to see in him the guy who once polished my shoes in basic, how many lives ago?
Becky's nice, though. She's a good woman, and she could be a good wife to him, if he loved her. But I now see more than I used to, and in his eyes I saw that he's just keeping up a facade. They deserve better, both of them.
Becky's already invited me back for her birthday in June, so it seems like I'll be seeing more of
Mitch them of Mitch. I don't know how to feel about it.
September 15th 1950
Becky's invited me over, again! Been there for the fourth time now, and I still don't know whether it's getting more or less awkward. Mitch and I barely talk when I'm there but... Becky says he brightens up when I visit. It makes me wonder what he's usually like.
It's almost midnight. I miss him.
May 20th 1953
Mitch came to San Francisco. He never said a thing about it, no letter, no call or anything... All of a sudden, he just stood in front of my flat this morning. He said he's here on business but I don't think it's true. He paved around the flat like a captured animal, glancing at the door every few minutes, like he'd just had this bullshit idea of coming here and now he's regretting it. We talked, or tried to, but he keeps saying lots of words without any meaning. I first thought he's drunk but he isn't. I remembered the Easter card Becky sent me when she wrote that he was really trying these days. Maybe that's why he came here, too. Trying to make things right?
It's late and he's asleep now. I showed him a bit of San Francisco in the afternoon, just the normal tourist stuff, and he finally settled a bit. I cooked for us in the evening, and then he more or less just collapsed. I let him have my bed, and I'll sleep on the sofa tonight. I'd prefer in his arms but this was a long time ago.
May 21st 1953
Today, after 8 years that should have taught me better, I kissed him again. I thought it was okay, he was good, he was smiling at me like he used to. He called me sweetheart and I couldn't take it. I destroyed everything.
He's gone. I fucked up.
[REST OF THE PAGE BLURRY]
December 3rd 1956
Becky called me today. Mitch is in hospital because of alcohol poisoning. He'll
be okay get bett live. It's the first time I've heard from him in three years.
It was strange talking to Becky after all that time but she was sweet as always. Every time we speak, I wonder whether she suspects anything
but I don't know what maybe that doesn't even matter.
I miss Mitch so much. I wanna go see him but I'm afraid it will only make things worse. I just want him to be
happy again okay.
December 16th 1956
I called Mitch today. Or rather, I tried to. It was Becky answering the phone. For half an hour, she tried to get Mitch to talk to me but he wouldn't. She comforted me by saying that he won't see or speak to anyone these days and that I should try again soon.
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December 25th 1956
It's Christmas Day, and I can only think of Mitch. It's as bad as it used to be, back in the first couple of years after the war, and I don't know why. So much time has passed, and it's never going to happen. Why can't I let go?
June 24th 1957
Becky called to say thank you for the birthday card I sent her. In the background, I could hear Mitch's voice, and then some noise like things being thrown. Was he drunk again? Becky had lowered her voice and said that it wasn't a good time to talk before hanging up hastily. I feel sorry for her. And I feel selfish because when I'd heard Mitch's voice, all I could think about was how badly I wanna see him again. I want to hold him and tell him it's okay. But it's not.
March 2nd 1958
I figured out why I still keep writing in this journal. It's war memories, and it seems the war ain't over yet.
Becky called today. Mitch's in hospital. He was drunk and walked onto the main street, right into a car. Miracle that he's still alive, the doctors say. Right now, I'm on a plane to him.
March 3rd 1958
Today, I visited him in the hospital. I held his hand and remembered the last time I did that, back in '45, on the day when he'd told me that he got married.
And I remembered that, once upon a time, two servicemen who loved each other thought that a couple of regular guys could live together after the war. I really had believed in this future back then, and I think so had Mitch.
He'll come through, the doctors say. 'The lucky bastard will be good as new', one of them quipped, and laughed. Becky and I didn't laugh. We know better.
I'm flying home tomorrow.
May 9th 1958
Called Becky today. He barely leaves the house anymore, barely even leaves the bed. She sounded so tired but still tried to put on a facade. I could hear in her voice how she was forcing herself to sound more optimistic than she feels. But whatever she says or writes to me, I always see right through. We both love the same man, after all.
November 16th 1960
I went to that one bar tonight where they always play the old tunes. Usually, they make me think of my time with Artie. I miss him, too,
and I wonder where
Tonight, they played Blue Twilight, and right back I was in the camp, dancing with Mitch. I left immediately. This can't go on. I have to stop thinking about him, it's eating me up and keeps me from being happy. And I decided that I'll throw out this journal after all. This will be the last entry.
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April 18th 1962
After years of not having heard his voice, Mitch called me today! He sounded good, happy even! He invited me over for Becky's birthday party in June... it's been years since I've been to their place. The call was strange, in the best sense. I haven't heard him talk like this since we were in the army. There was something in his voice, something light and joyful. Something of the old Hollywood, the handsome guy everyone at Charlie Company loved.
I talked to Becky afterwards, and she was whispering in the phone as if Mitch wasn't supposed to hear. Told me that he was having a good stretch, the first one in over a year. He hadn't been drinking the last couple of weeks, and it all seemed so easy. He'd taken her out on a boat ride a few days ago when one month earlier, he wouldn't even leave his bed. She warned me, though. Those good phases came and went, and they got shorter and rarer every time.
But I can't help it. It gives me just a glimpse of hope. Maybe he's gonna get better somehow. I can't wait to see him in June.
Mitch died today, May 12th 1962, age 43. Official cause of death - heart attack. But even Becky says it was the alcohol. Guess the war's finally over.