This is the forty-ninth of 87 letters exchanged during World War II between Nicholas Salvatore and Elizabeth Galloway. For more see Nicholas and Elizabeth.
October 24, 1944
From my hospital bed
Forgive me. I don’t want to be out of your life. I don’t want anything of the sort. I hate this place. I hate being here and being useless. They’re fighting and dying and I’m doing what? I don’t know. They’ve let me start helping out around here – menial tasks for the most part but the other night they were overwhelmed and I was able to help with some of the wounded. I can still help save them.
Laying here, staring at the ceiling – I’ve never felt more terrible. And yet I couldn’t get myself to do anything, to give a damn about anything. I didn’t want to look at your picture or read your letters. I didn’t want anything. I don’t know what happened to change it but the other day I woke up early – long before sunrise – and stared around this wretched place. The others in their beds, some fast asleep, some moaning in pain, the nurse going about her duties, shells in the far distance. I got up and asked her what I could do to help. It was as if I was watching myself do it. She told me to get back in bed. I complied but sat, writing stories in my head – something I haven’t done for a long time. Stories of you and me. What we’d do in Chicago – all the places I could take you. You talk about beauty that’s everywhere. That’s where we’ll be.
We never discussed religion but I was raised Roman Catholic. Wait, what am I saying? Of course we talked about it on our walk. We talked of lots of things. Guilt is a terrible thing, especially when it’s not your fault but you can’t help from feeling it. Ah, anyway, I should stop writing and start doing. I love you Elizabeth, and always will.
PS – I just heard the Cubs finished in fourth – 30 games back. I’m sure Pop is right – next year for sure. Of course, he’s said that every year since I was born, but he’s gotta be right eventually.
Next letter – October 24, 1944