My gentle, beautiful Nel Jia,

I hope you are well and not too upset about me, the war and this whole mess of a world. I know it must sound quite absurd, but sometimes I wish you were here, with me, in the front line, dodging shells and running wild and dropping to the ground when things explode all over. And laughing out loud, and roaring like a savage animal, and unleashing that unstoppable feeling, the assault, the wonderful strength that fills our veins and makes us human. Godly human.
You see, I realized something the other day. I am carrying a final letter for you in my backpack. So, if I don’t make it, you will receive my confession, the account of my life, my love for you and the things that made me worthy of your love. But by that time there will be nothing left for me – and in my selfishness and vanity, I am longing for a piece of you near me, to have and to hold, to look at before my fleeting life ends.

I am not here to „do good” like poor Yuri. I am here to survive and if I fail at that, I am here to die like a dog, for no reason or purpose. The least I could do is to die facing my enemy; to die violently and fast, so I have no time and no occasion to think of the many happy years we could have spent together. Of the vines growing in the orchard we could have tended to. Of the disputes that would have ended in kisses. Of the winter nights we would have spent by the fire place, telling stories and making shadows on the ceiling with our hands. Of the old age when we would have looked back to all our life with a tear of happiness, still talking passionately to each other, still learning, still seeking, still wondering and feeling the wonder.
We were embarked with the second motorized division and now we’re heading towards Ulan Bator, to be airlifted again. Our next drop is behind Moscow, in the great push to take it back. This will be the hardest test for all of us. The test that says who of us is meant to have some more to say and do in this world and who isn’t.
If I want glory and victory it’s because I’m still the child who dreams that one day he will be a prince on a white horse, in a shining armor – and he will go far, to the end of the world and vanquish the great dragon, in a cosmic battle. And when the dust settles over the steel, the blood and the fire, he will be riding his horse into the sunset, carrying his beautiful, loved princess, and then they will live together ever after.

I wish you well, a happy, miraculous life, filled with love and beauty.
God willing, I will write to you after this next jump.
Darius Pavlovici Nettimans.

Posted October 5th
To Nel Jia Li