This is the seventy-first of 87 letters exchanged during World War II between Nicholas Salvatore and Elizabeth Galloway. For more see Nicholas and Elizabeth.

Train at Union Station, Chicago

April 7, 1945
Here

Dear Elizabeth,

I remember being on the train going north, heading away from you and toward something I couldn’t imagine. The men spoke of the things they had done and the things they would do. I sat quietly, reading but not reading, thinking of you back there. We had only met briefly but there was a connection. The kind that even if we didn’t see one another for years would remain strong and always there, waiting for the next time our lives intersected. Feeling that made me think I could make it through this war.

I still dream about that night we walked through the darkness. When they first took me to the hospital I dreamed of it every night. It was so wonderful and so real, I’d wake up and be able to hold it for a moment but then reality would hit hard. This went on and on until one day I didn’t try to hold onto it so tight. It wasn’t real, sure, but as far as my brain was concerned, it was. All the emotions were there and I experienced them exactly as if it had been real. I woke with this euphoria and let it be there without trying to make it last and knowing that it wouldn’t. And you know what? It lasted much longer. Not only that, it bled into reality and made my entire day better. You deserve to be happy, maybe you’re just trying too hard at it. Maybe you have to relax into it. Then again, I’m the one who had the complete breakdown, so entertain such suggestions at your own peril. Know, though, that you do deserve to be happy.

Take care Princess,

Nick

Next letter – April 20, 1945

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