John had just finished filing his latest story about war-torn London when his English friend Maurice tapped him on the shoulder.
“This came for you while you were out,” Maurice said, handing John an envelope. “Looks like it’s from the States.”
John took a quick look at the envelope and smiled. “It’s from my girl, Mary, back in Evanston. Just the little pick-me-up I needed today. Nothing like a letter from home to take your mind completely off the war.”
He opened the envelope and removed the letter. It was on a single piece of stationery.
“Dear John,” it began. “I know this will come as a surprise and will be hard for you to understand.”
John’s mouth fell open as he read the few lines. By the time he finished, there was a noise like sirens in his ears. He got up from his desk and stumbled toward the door.
It was pitch black outside. He fumbled in his jacket for a cigarette and his lighter. He put the cigarette in his mouth and lit it, the tiny flame all the light in John’s world. He stared at it for half a minute after lighting his smoke, and then deliberately closed the case.
The sirens kept blowing in his mind, and to them was added a dull roar like a hundred airplanes. How could Mary dump him like that? And for Todd?
John drew on his cigarette and passed a hand over his forehead. He felt ill. The new whistling sounds in his brain weren’t helping matters.
Mary’s letter had hit him like a ton of bricks. Unnoticed by the sorrowful young man, so did the building he stood next to when the bomb hit it.
There really was nothing like a letter from home to take a person’s mind completely off the war.