My love,

I’ve been having a dream, every once in a while, ever since we retreated from Moscow, two years ago. Ever since I left you behind.
It’s the image of a silent city, in ruins, smoking still. I am present as a spirit in another man’s body. I see what he sees and move with him. He comes out from an underground shelter and looks around, while his eyes become accustomed to the light of the sun. There’s a car crashed nearby, with the player still on, and a sound of old jazz. Behind the man there is a woman, I cannot see her because he doesn’t look at her, but he keeps talking to her, showing her things. They don’t seem to share my horror, beholding the charred city.
They don’t even seem to realize the danger they’re in, because it looks like there’s been a nuclear bombing and there’s still very likely radioactive debris. In fact, they’re happy, inconceivably happy. He takes her by the hand and they run, screaming, around the ruins. They reach a park with a kid’s playground and he lifts her by the waist and sits her on a swing. I find myself hopeless inside the man, trying to warn them, to get them to run away. Then he starts to kiss her. I still cannot see her very well, I cannot recognize her. Then she runs away from the swing, bidding him to catch her and she throws her shoes at him laughing, to slow him down, then her scarf, then her blouse. He puts her scarf around his head, to look like a commando. I cannot understand why I cannot recognize her, it is like asking myself a straight, easy question and being unable to answer. Then the man catches her, they fall to the ground, they kiss and then they make love in the sand. I leave the man’s body and I find myself helpless again, lifted away from them. But then suddenly I understand what my main concern is: that they have little time left in their lives, before they die. And just as quickly I am put at peace – you see, the rest of us too, have little time left. We just count it differently. So, perhaps if I had the chance to see things clearly, I would make love too the day after all things end. And I too would be happy.

The day after we left, two years ago -I volunteered for a recon mission, three tank crews in modified T-90s, with half normal armor, for higher speed. We went straight to the refugee convoy fleeing Moscow. We each took a checkpoint on the motorway and prepared to draw any incoming raids as far away from the convoy as possible, then engage them and take out as many as we could. I killed five troop carriers and two tanks that day. Later, I learned that you were not in that convoy, but I couldn’t take the chance. Me and two of my men returned in an enemy jeep with half a cylinder left in one piece after we machine gunned the enemy occupants. The other two tanks did not return. There was no doubt in their mind when I asked them to come. They each had someone they loved in that convoy. Their wives, their mothers – Zaidin had his new born daughter, he didn’t know where she was, her mother called the day before, saying they’d be taking a bus north. The last time I saw him, his tank was on fire, he had two main battle tanks to his rear and he was calmly reporting each hit, regularly, 5 seconds apart. His last transmission was that he had just destroyed one of the enemy tanks, his engined gave in, he was being acquired on laser targeting and may God protect his child with His merciful hand.
There’s on thing in my dream. In the sand, the woman whispers to the man’s ear two words -„Вам повезло!”, „Lucky you!”
That’s the only thing that makes sense there and I cannot understand anything else. You said that to me when we were little and I repaired your bike once and I asked for a kiss in return. And you kissed me and said these words, then you went away on your bike.

I wish you are well and I love you,
Mikhail Borodin
To Joconde Abraham, September, 21