A Letter From the Front
I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirit. I wish to extend my best Christmas wishes to you and your family. Although it saddens me I could not celebrate with you this year, I promise to be there next year and all the years after that. Believe me when I say this; life at the front has been different in the weeks leading up to Christmas. When Walter crawled out of our trench, clutching a white flag, we thought he’d be dead within minutes. Instead, it stayed quiet on the other side. Walter walked to the middle of no man’s land and just stood there. We thought he’d lost his wits, until a German crawled out of his trench and walked up to him. They shook hands and exchanged cigarettes.
Louise, the sound of hope in our hearts now cracks louder than any explosion or gunshot. We’ve all crawled out of the trenches to meet those on the other side. I talked to Paul, he couldn’t have been older than sixteen, and we smoked a cigarette together. He showed me a picture of his family. His father had his arm around his mother; Paul’s sister stood in between. They seemed a loving family. I showed him a picture of you; he nodded and smiled.
They’re the same, Louise. They celebrate and sing, just like we do. They don’t want to shoot us, and we don’t want to shoot them. We all wish to go home, back to our loved ones. There is no comfort in stranger dirt. We’re back in the trenches now, but it’s been quiet so far.
So wait for me, Louise, please wait for me. The war will be over if we refuse to shoot.
With deepest love,
more by THOMAS DE MOOR