August, 1943. Sicily.
My dearest Adalasia.
Yesterday, I returned to her shop. I have seen her on several occasions now, and she and I have grown quite enamored with each other. It is a deep love that we share. The kind that words struggle to describe. I’ve always wondered if I would ever fall in love, as I have put great thought into the topic. I find that love takes many different forms. There is, of course the initial, shallower love. That which we trust by instinct. Some might call it simple attraction. And then there is the grander love that most spend their entire lives searching for. The one that causes us to wed, to have children, to enjoy life, and to be happy. The one that gives you meaning.
But then…then there is an even deeper, profoundly unique love. A love found only in times such as these. A love so visceral that it transcends outward description, as the only way to comprehend it would be to feel the sensation. The kind that manifests when a grenade is thrown into the room, and your instinct is to jump on it.
For that is what happened today. The Germans launched a counter-attack this afternoon, the bastards. As she and I were having lunch in the apartment above her father’s bakery, I found myself caught at the front end of their assault. The captain said no one saw it coming. None of us did.
A pair of them came into the bakery. They must have seen my helmet hung on the post outside. I would have never seen them had she not been standing by the window. Upon hearing them ascending the stairs, I fired at them through the wall. I missed. They threw the potato masher into the room close to Adalasia. I then jumped to cover it, and for my eternal gratitude to God it didn’t detonate. It was as if my body wasn’t under my own control, and some mysterious force had compelled me to sacrifice myself to spare her life. We were saved by some of my squad, who had been at a coffee shop across the street. It was most horrifying.
I didn’t realize until this evening the magnitude of what that action meant. We all say we would do it for love. Now, I know. My deepest consciousness sought first to protect her.
The truest, most genuine love there can be. That’s the energy I share with Adalasia.
We share an iron love forged on the anvils of war.