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The Thirteen Letters

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What I wouldn’t God damn give for you to have been this healthy three years ago, that winter when you almost died on me in the middle of the night from that rattle in your chest. I spent one month scared as hell that you were going to stop breathing and then two weeks worrying that the next time you coughed there’d be blood in your hand, and you’d be gone from me just like that, same way as your mama before you, God rest her soul. I didn’t think I could stand it, having to bury you. Even now I’d rather eat my own gun than see you dead.

I hate them. I hate them for what they did to you. You won’t ever understand that, I don’t think. I mean, sure, I’m glad that you’re finally in one piece and I don’t have to worry about a strong wind knocking you over. I’m glad you don’t have bad lungs and that it doesn’t hurt when you walk for too long. The outside finally matches the inside, and now everyone — the whole world, I guess — can see just what it is you’re made of. I’m not mad about that.

It’s selfish maybe but I didn’t want you out here. When I shipped out I kept thinking, at least he’s stowed away safe. I even thought, when I get myself killed out there, maybe it’ll convince him to stop trying to get in. And that was the one good thing I had in my head every time I was listening to enemy fire, convinced I wasn’t making the march back. So what if you volunteered, like you said. You’ve always been your own. The one thing you’ve always been, hell or high water, is your own. Can’t deny you that. I would never try besides. But you’re going to see killing, these next couple days. You’re going to see the truth of the world, and the hell that lives inside. So answer me this, and be honest now: Isn’t that just trading out one sickness for another?


They fucked me up, but I don’t ever wanna tell you just how bad. I won’t even now, don’t even want to think those things in your direction. But I will tell you — mostly because God willing you’ll never see these — I will tell you that when you first came for me I thought, hand to the Lord, that I was finally dead. And then I figured it was just another trick. They did that, made me think you were there. They’d shoot me up with something, and after I felt it slide through my veins under my skin I would see you, or I’d hear you, and I’d say your name the way I used to. You know what I mean — that nickname you hated, the one I still sometimes say just to rile you up because you’re amazing when I piss you off, your face all red like that, something about the fact that I can get your heart going.

But that name, I’d say it over and over. Up until I realized that they were back to their old drill, asking how’s that feel, does it hurt when I cut here? How about the sole of his foot next? And then I’d go back to it, name, rank, serial number. You wouldn’t believe all the German I learned on that table. It was a God damn language lesson.

And now I’m trekking around with you, killing anyone who’s got a swastika on and looks at you wrong, and I’ll tell you, my feet bled for three days straight after you came to get me, and I didn’t once feel a thing.

It’s like this. You were the best at mythology when we were kids, and I remember one day we were reading about Icarus. And you remember this, I know you do, but I’m going to tell you the story again anyway. Icarus made wings out of wax to escape a prison. But when he was outside for the first time in years there was the sun hanging up in the sky above him and he thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He flew closer and closer and his wings started to melt, but he didn’t give a good goddamn. He kept flying up until he couldn’t fly anymore, and his eyes were probably burning, and his skin was probably burning, but still he didn’t care. And then his wings melted all the way and he fell miles and miles into the ocean and brained himself on a rock, that poor stupid asshole. And I’ll tell you what: I’m no better. I’m no fucking better.


You piss me off so God damn much. Jesus Roosevelt Christ. I’ve got your number, you reckless fucking dumbass.


This is the God’s honest truth: I hated that asshole. With his big pearly whites and his spit-shined uniform — what kind of sorry schmuck lets somebody dress him up like that? — prancing around in his tights and acting like he knows what it means to lay in the mud for six days straight, what it feels like when the enemy’s got too close and the only thing left to do is close your hands around their neck and lock your muscles up and wait until the life snuffs out.

I’ve done that. You’ve seen me.

One kid, just a little after I shipped out, not even three months in, he showed up back from leave with the comic books. I laughed in his God damn face. I ain’t proud of it, but I did. I was sore and tired and couldn’t get that smell out of my nose, like car parts on a hot day at the garage. Felt like I was bathing in it. Still do. Blood doesn’t wash out, no matter what they tell you. Not even cold water can do it. So anyway I’m standing there in my boots that are getting holes in them and I’m reeking like the cold mud and shit and whatever the hell else I’d been stepping in, and this green kid settles down by the fire, his eyes too big for his face the way yours used to be, his uniform all clean, and he pulls out this comic book. I about lost it right then. I didn’t know if I was going to yell or cry or sock him one, but it was like there was a huge rushing in my ears and I couldn’t think past the anger. Right then all I could think was of that kid’s body laying on the ground, his eyes staring sightless and bloodshot up at mine. I didn’t want that thought to belong to me. I hated thinking it, but I couldn’t make the image go away. In the end I reigned it in; you’d be proud. All I said was, that mook doesn’t give a shit about you, pal. He’s never fought in a war and he never will.

And Jesus Christ, how’s that for irony?

But later I felt like shit and apologized, and even later that kid got his arm blown off by a Kraut hand grenade and was shipped back home. So whatever that says. War stories don’t really have much by way of morals or lessons, but I figured I’d tell it anyway.

I don’t still hate him, or at least not the same way that I used to. How could I? It’s impossible. Got his patch sewn on my left arm and everything. And I’ll wear it, too, until the day I die. I’ll tell you, I should have appreciated that comic book while I had the God damn chance. I was stupid then. The colors in it were so bright and vivid, so much nicer than the gray and green we’ve got here. But when he got carted out of the field he had his comic books in his pack and they shipped home with him. So all that color he brought is back home, now. Which is alright. I figure that’s where those types of happy things belong.


What do you say, after this I’ll take you someplace nice, and I’m not talking about one of the dance halls you hate so bad either. It’s so God damn cold in Brooklyn your lungs make a louder racket than our broken radiator and Mister Eli’s mangy cat combined, and then here mud sucks at our shoes and gets under my fingernails and I swear to God that I haven’t felt warm in half a year. Neither have you, no matter how hard you pretend otherwise.

So if we ever get out of this frozen wet hell we’re going out to the Grand Canyon. I tell you, I dream of the Grand Canyon. We’ll be there at night, just you and me, and throw rocks off the edge to hear them make land a thousand miles down, thunking like fat little raindrops into a puddle. That’s all I want to do anymore. Lay on the baked red ground next to you until my bones heat up. Warm again. Warm again with no more of that thick dried blood smell in my nose, just you, clean like your soap. You’d be heaven for anyone, but you’re especially heaven for a sinner like me. And even if we freeze where we lay like that Nazi splinter group we found — I heard the desert gets real cold at night, or maybe you told me that — at least it’ll be because we wanted to be there, and at least the air will be dry.


I saw it — did you know that? I did. You’ve always been sentimental in stupid ways, can never say it out loud, always got to find a different way to show it. I get it, you know. I do. Hell, I did almost the same thing with your letters before I lost them, keeping them tucked up in my pocket every time I was out in the field. And isn’t that a riot and a half?

Maybe you think about it like a good luck charm. Or maybe you just like to see her pretty face — I wouldn’t blame you. I’d like her for myself if it wasn’t plain as day to me the way you are about her. Remember what your ma used to say? “Gone in the head.” Well that’s what you are. If there wasn’t a war on you two would already be living upstate in some real nice brownstone with two dogs and a kid. As it is, when the two of you get out of this alive, that’s where you’ll end up anyway. Don’t be nervous about it. She’ll say yes. She’d say yes if you asked right now. She’d wear a God damn ring from a Cracker Jack box if it was all you had, trust me on that. She’s your forever girl.

At least those are the things I’m gonna tell you the night before you propose, nervous and pacing and wanting to practice on me. Then again, maybe I won’t live to see it. Sometimes I hope to God I won’t. When it comes right down to it I don’t know that I’ll be able to do it. I don’t know if I’ve got it in me; I don’t know if I can just stand there while you seal the deal. I’m no good at watching you walk away from me.

You know, after the table, when they took me in to question me about what happened, they gave me an out. They told me they’d discharge me and I could go home — I’m serious. Due to psychological injury, they said. Do you understand that? I think about it every God damn day of my life. I could have gone home. I could be home right now. I could be sitting in our ugly little shoebox trying to get the radiator to work. I could be at the fish market, or even taking a girl on a date. But God fucking save me, I couldn’t do it. My one dream came true but I didn’t take it because I didn’t want to watch you leave. Not quite yet. I’m selfish and I want to hang on until I can’t anymore.

The God’s honest truth is that I ain’t ever gonna love again. She’s your true north. I know what that means, because you’re mine.


You scare the hell out of me. Every hour of every God damn day. You scare me to fucking death.

I have a theory, a theory about war, and it works like this — all of us, whether we enlisted or hit the lottery, we tell ourselves stories about why we’re out here. Some guys who get the draft say it’s God’s plan for them, and some guys who enlist say they’re doin it for Uncle Sam or their sweethearts or their mamas, or maybe even their shellshocked daddies.

I didn’t come to war for you and I didn’t fight to keep it away. The way I got out here was cowardly. But the more I fought the more I told myself my story. It’s so much easier when you’re telling yourself a story. Because the truth is that we’re not here for God or for our nation or even for our families or our sweethearts. Maybe we think so at first or we convince ourselves afterwards, which is easy enough to do when you’re humping through the muck or trying not to catch hypothermia in the forest. In the field it’s a different story. Suddenly all the pretty pictures you’ve painted fade away and all that’s left is the ugly gore and the sweat. It turns out that there’s not one God damn thing that’s glorious about death. You’re not out here for them. You’re out here because that’s just the way the chips fell.

I told you, you heard me: I told you never to follow me into Hell. Now I’m not vain enough to think that’s why you’re out here now — if there’s any person in what’s left of this God forsaken planet who’s part of a bigger picture, it’d be you. But I’ll keep saying it until it sticks. You got nothing to prove. I’m not worth much, I damn well know that, but I’ll ask you anyway: Stay for me. If you leave me alone in this world I’ll turn into something terrible. I’ll turn into the nasty creature that’s growing inside me. This war, it’ll swallow me whole.


If I close my eyes I can pretend I’m back home, except there’s maybe not so many horns honking. It’s better than being on the front, though. Hell of a lot better than that.

Remember on the real hot days when we used to dangle our legs off the dock? At around four o’clock the hot dog stand shaded us until sundown. I was peeled and blistered and burned from working all day out in the sun anyway, but I didn’t want to go to the apartment because it wasn’t often you’d get out. You were always so careful when you brought your sketchbook for drawing, making sure not to drop it in, but everything you drew those days ended up getting sprayed a little by the waves anyway. There must be a million drawings of me and the landscape there that’s smudged in tiny circles the shape of the water droplets.

I remember one year, when we first got a place, the kid in the apartment below us — really just a kid — he died in the night from the fever that was taking everyone in the neighborhood. And you were so damn upset, all hunched over, red around the eyes. I slung my arm around you and said a bunch of bullshit nonsense about how it was fine and at least he didn’t hurt anymore. But then I put my face in your hair and thanked God it was him and not you. I thought, if He had to take someone, at least it wasn’t you. It was the worst thing I ever thought but it’s true.

Tell you a secret? One month out a guy got hurt bad in a shelling. Reminded me of that sick kid downstairs, the same hair, you remember — curly? Just like then there wasn’t nothing I could have done to help him. His belly looked like Swiss cheese from all the shrapnel. Fell down next to me. There was no saving him, and he was staring right at me — it’s not like I could leave him there, not when he was looking like that. He said please, and so I shot him in the face. I was glad when he was done wheezing and gasping. I was so damn glad: I didn’t have to listen to it anymore. So maybe that’s the worst thing I ever thought, now that I remember it.

Water’s different here. It mists off the Thames, and by night I half expect the air to freeze while I try to walk through it. There’s no way I’d dip my feet in, or want you to. And what’s there to draw? Can’t even see Big Ben or any of that from where we are. Everything’s so gray, I miss the big red burns I’d get that made me have to sleep on my belly for weeks on end. I don’t think you could ever really stay out long enough to get a burn that way but I remember that your nose would get it bad and turn all red and peel a little on the bridge of it. I thought that was funny as hell. Sweet. I don’t know why, but it was. Bet you don’t even burn now. That’s a good thing, I keep telling myself. In this world of bad things that’s one really good thing.


You remember staying up late reading Dracula out loud to each other under the covers, back when your ma was still alive? And we were havin the best time, scaring ourselves like a couple of idiots, until all of a sudden a police siren started up outside and we both screamed fit to wake the people in West Virginia. Then your ma came flying down the hall with a bread knife of all things at the ready, and she made us turn out the lights. So we did, and then of course I tried to act all tough, but I slept next to you that night anyway. Funny, I guess. Turns out that you’re still my favorite hiding place. Funny, too: turns out there are scarier things in the dark than vampires.

Tell you something. Tell you another secret, because this one, this one I won’t ever tell, not to God, not to a priest, and sure as hell not to you. In that base we burned the bodies in a furnace. I hadn’t eaten in days. The truth is simple. The smell made me hungry.


There’s this feeling I get after a firefight, when the shells are still bouncing across the ground, and I’m still a little blind and deaf, but the whole world is crystal clear, and I could just fall to the ground and cry like a baby because I’m still alive. The first time I felt it I thought I was going to burst out of my skin. And then everything rushed back so quick I felt like a newborn. The whole world was brand-new and I was on top of it. I could swallow it whole.

You think I haven’t seen the same look on your face?

The closest I’ve ever been to the Garden of Eden is the genesis on the battlefield when the shrapnel’s still falling like hail on a tin roof. You look at me with those blue eyes all hot and electric in your face, blood on your cheek, soot smudged over your nose. Bone of my bones. Were you taken from my rib? You must have been, or maybe I was made from yours. And God damn, I want it. I want back inside you. I want you now, same as I wanted you before, prettier than hell even with a bloodied nose and split knuckles. Don’t care you were smaller. Liked it, even — same as I like you this way too. You make me hungry. You understand? You make me hungry. That mouth pink like spun sugar, though it doesn’t stop you from talking fit to cut anyone down to bits with your angry words. A spitfire since you learned how to speak, and I’ll tell you something, it’s hell to love a fighter.

Anyway, Jesus — I shouldn’t even be thinking it, much less writing it down. I used to love you so sweet, the way kids love, the way I was supposed to. Then it turned greedy and true. If there’s any Heaven that’s fit for me it’d be all your pale skin under my hands for the rest of eternity. I wouldn’t need anything else. Not food or drink or sleep. Just my hands on you and your sweet love-sounds.

I think it’s fit I take it to the grave. Wouldn’t make you any happier. In fact it’d do nothing but put you in danger — that ain’t something I want. It’s another story I tell myself, I guess. That I’m being noble and doing it for you, when really I’m just being scared, and can’t do it to myself.


Here’s a story your mama told me.

When she came over on the boat she kept getting sick and she couldn’t figure out why. Eventually this lady came up to see if she was fine, and she asked her, when are you due? And your ma said, no, I’m only seasick.

I’m supposed to take the rest of this story to the grave, but I doubt anyone will care to find these anyway.

So it turned out the woman from the Old Country was right, and your ma cried herself sick because she was so scared and alone. You see now why I was supposed to take this one to the grave? She asks the woman, the hell will I do? I don’t have any money and nobody on God’s green Earth will hire an Irish girl fresh off the ship, especially when she’s in a family way. Now the woman, she was feeling terrible about this, terrible for this young girl who had nowhere else to turn. And the woman’s husband, he’d died in the war. So she slipped off the band around her finger and put it on your mama’s. Then she told your ma her last name, and her husband’s first name, and said it was time to start over again anyway. So your ma did. She bought a plot at the cemetery and said it was your da's. That grave is empty, same way mine will be. That rosary you got with you, the one you think is his -- it was hers. It was hers all along.

After she finished whispering it out to me, the whole truth of her life, she started hacking up a lung. I got her water, I remember, and then I asked — well, what anyone else would, I guess. I asked why she did it. Why she picked me to tell. She looked me in the eye and she said, remember how she used to call me, she said, “James Buchanan, I’m not long for this Earth. I told you because I know. You and me; you and me, James, we’re the same kind of storyteller.”

I still don’t understand what it was that she knew. I got my suspicions. I think she saw in me the thief and impostor she saw in herself. We understood one another, your ma and I. I was a good kid, back home — straight A’s till I dropped out, good at my job, good to my dates, a gentleman. I was so proud of those things, and turns out it don’t matter at all. Even though you were the troublemaker we were both from the wrong side of the tracks. Brooklyn tough, and no changing us — do anything for each other, won’t we? I’ve stolen and lied and cheated, and mostly, I’ve done it for you. Not because you asked — you didn’t ask your ma either, and you would never ask anyone, considering you’d choke on your pride if you ever tried swallowing it. But like me, she did it for you all the same.

She told me that at first she was scared as hell of loving you. She said she didn’t know if she could, because she thought she’d always be waiting for you to die, and she couldn’t stand anyone else dyin on her. I finally bucked up and asked her how long she had actually loved you for. You know what she told me? She said, that’s a stupid question.

She died in the night while we slept in our beds. I heard the news first, because I guess I was just up and out first, taking her bread, or soup, or something. All I saw of her was her white hand while they took her away. I remember walking all the way back to your apartment, hadn’t seen you in maybe a day and a half, and I knew I had to tell you but I also knew I didn’t want to. So I let myself in, quiet as a mouse, and sure enough you were still asleep in bed. All I could do was look at you and wish to God that I could put a spin on this one, too — make it all alright again.

At the end she was so tired.

Never really thought about the future. Never really could think much past you. In that respect, your ma and I had something in common, God rest her soul. But neither of us, I don’t think, were ever meant for much. Here’s the truth — baby, here’s the truth. I’ve got a rootless heart. I don’t think I’m meant for loving, or at least not anymore. And I should die out here. I’m the kind of guy who’s not meant to go back. I try to imagine a life after this and it just won’t come. So forget about me, will you? If it’ll make you happy. Live glorious, eat like a king, laugh until the sun comes up, never look back. Don’t you dare look back. More than anything I want to know that you kept on. More than anything I want to know that you took on the world — everything else seems to matter less and less.

So how long have I loved you for? Womb to tomb, sweetheart. Since before I was even here at all. I get it now, you understand. Your ma was right. It really is a stupid question.


Look, I’m sorry I worried you so bad. I’m just fine, except maybe now you know how I felt last year, when you almost bled out under my hands while I stood there like some kind of helpless schmuck, not having the first God damn idea what to do. I don’t remember a whole lot about the ordeal, but I do remember you shoving your belt between my teeth. I remember I wasn’t allowed to make a lick of noise due to how far behind enemy lines we were, and I remember trying like hell not to. It hurt, sure. Hurt like the Devil himself was digging down and trying to pull out my insides.

I remember after it was over you pressing your forehead against mine. You didn’t say a word but I knew you were afraid. I shut my eyes and for a second I could pretend I was back in Brooklyn. I pretended that our faces were too close because we were sharing a bed in the middle of winter and you had rolled over in your sleep. I swear to God, in that second I could smell the charcoal on your hands from drawing all day, and the motor oil on my skin from working at the garage. When you let out a breath I could even smell the sharp sweet tang of oranges.

Right then I didn’t tell myself any stories. I was dying, and I was glad that it was happening while I was next to you.

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever told you the whole story before. It’s like everything started around that winter. Like I orbit it, sucked into that year by some big cosmic force of gravity.

It was 1940, the year you kept almost dying on me, but this was before all that. Winter was just coming, and the cough you had was only little, not keeping you in bed for weeks at a time. I knew that even if I couldn’t pay for heat I had to pay at least for some more blankets or quilts. I remember thinking that even if I could steal food I’d need money for your medications.

It was when I got laid off from the garage, and the factory jobs had run out in Brooklyn and Queens — I think this part you know. I went all over Manhattan, but no one in Midtown wanted to hire me. Finally I ended up at a deli and I flattered the old fella behind the counter with some bullshit I can’t even remember now, maybe how great their cheesecake was, but anyway he finally let me in on a few trade secrets about who around town was looking for help. Anyway, I got the gig at the docks in Chelsea. It was only part time and eventually I had to replace it with the dock job back home, but it was alright money while I could get it. I worked maybe five hours that day, and on the way back to our rickety place I was feeling so lucky I stopped by the market. If you were a dame I probably would have tried to buy you a ring. I could have taken on the whole world because I had the dollar fifty in my pocket they paid me for working on such short notice. It was the first real money I felt like I’d had in years.

So I was walking around the market, looking around, dried this, canned that…and then I saw some oranges. Heavenly choirs sang when I looked at those oranges. They were so bright and I’d just worked a hard, cold shift, and you had been looking blue and sick for weeks. And all of a sudden the inspiration struck me, and I knew what I had to do.

I swear to God I haggled with Mr. O’Leary over that one single orange for fifteen minutes straight. There was something important to me that day about buying it with the money I’d just made. Finally I got it low enough.

I’ll never forget the look on your face when I came in the door and tossed it to you. I can’t even describe it. I’d do anything on earth to make you look at me again like that. I’d fill your whole room up with oranges. I’d fill the apartment with them. The building, even. Give them to you in baskets until the day I die and arrange for them to be sent even after that.

Well, then of course you started worrying over the price and wouldn’t hear of eating it all on your own. So you made me split it with you. I can still taste it — the way it broke so sweet and tart on my tongue, got sticky all over my fingers. Do you remember, we even kept squeezing the skin because little bursts of flavor would puff out away from it that we could see and smell. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything like that before or since. It was like a whole summer feast laid out right in front of us, even though it was just one fruit and not summer at all, but instead that terrible time of year when winter sneaks down; starts killing the flowers.

Never told another soul this, and I guess I never will, but I think of that orange, that one evening, every single time when I’m sure I’m about to snuff it for real. Thought about it in my first firefight and thought about it when the Germans stuck me full of needles and sliced up the soles of my feet. And when I was shot the other day and so sure it was over — good-bye, motherfuckers, I’m finally going back home — I wasn’t all that scared. In that one minute it was fine — everything was alright. I bought an orange. You smiled at me. And Jesus Christ, it was fantastic.


There are a bunch of stories in this world. I know this because I slept through every single one of them in school with you snoring away right beside me. Long stories, short stories, ghost stories. Sad stories and romance stories, parables, tall tales, and even the stories that have happy endings — And let me tell you, men on Mars make more sense to me than those do these days.

I’m the story that’ll never get told, but that doesn’t much bother me. They’ll remember you which is as it should be. Just like me, they were caught off guard. Nobody ever saw you coming, not the army, not the country. You went and blindsided us all. And now that all the storytellers have got a hold of you, you’re gonna live forever.

I remember maybe third day of Catechism when Sister Catherine said that each and every one of us are sinners and there wasn’t nothing to be done for it. And I believe it of me, hell yes I do — I’m a killer, stone cold. Some people are good at math and some people are good at art, but me, I’m good at shooting, and it scares me right to the bone the things I’d do for you. When they turn me away from the pearly gates I imagine they’ll give me a list full of the names of the Germans I killed for you and won’t look twice at what I think about doing every time I curl up around you at night, sayin it’s just to keep warm. Because it’s fine and all to kill for your country, I think, but not quite the same when you’re killing for just one person in particular.

And besides, I’ve got a whole laundry list of other sins, past even those. I’m a liar and a coward, and once I got the draft I burned the letter so that you’d never find it. I’m so God damn afraid to die, but it’s not for me. It’s because I can’t leave you alone in a world as ugly as this one. Somehow you don’t know it, but there’s no justice here, not anymore. All the word about the death camps. The shit Morita put up with before he shipped out. You took a knife to the neck last year and still you can’t see it, don’t understand that Hell isn’t some place underneath us, all filled up with fire and brimstone. Hell is right here, and I’ve been damned for a long time.

I know you’re not alone without me anymore. You’ve got your girl and you’ve got the boys. I know you can take care of yourself, and it puts me at a loose ends, how you can keep safe on your own now. You don’t need me. Doesn’t mean I’m not still afraid for you, not scared shitless that this world is gonna eat you alive.

But at least now I understand, I think, the feeling you had when you talked about doing right by your country, because I don’t mind living in Hell if it means doing right by you, just the way I’d strip the boots off a million dead Nazis if it meant your feet staying warm and dry.

I see you worrying your daddy's rosary at night, the poor battered old thing, and I wonder how you can still pray. I went to confession a hundred times until I gave up on it, because no matter how many Hail Marys I recited in the dark with you laying next to me, it didn’t stop. Sister Catherine would spit on me because I don’t have much need for God out here, but I’m glad you do. I’m real glad one of us does. But you keep giving me those big sad eyes of yours, like I’m breakin your heart when I try to explain it to you, and so I’ll give it another go, just one last try, even if you’ll never know about it —

Ave Maria, gratia plena, get him out of this war, and if you’ve gotta take someone then take me, because I’ve got nothing real to go home to but he’s got a girl now and I can see the hope written all over his face when he sees her. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, pray for us sinners, but don’t spend too much time on my immortal soul, because not even divine intervention can help me now. I know when to walk away from a fight and trying my damnedest not to need him was a losing battle.

I won’t be in the history books; that’s for you. But I loved you first. As long as they get that right, I don’t care what they say.