many moons ago they were separated by sea and wrote letters to fill the time they spent apart. she described her day and her passion for life and he told her funny stories and made her feel warm, and that at the core, he saw her. she waited for the mailman to bring her those words and when she read them, she pressed them close to her heart, as if the paper was his warm chest against her bare skin. he thought of her through his day, and made sure she knew it. she saw his purities and his imperfections, and enveloped all sides of him with her heart. and they knew. they knew someday the war would be over, and he would be there, at her door. her skin smelled of vanilla and cloves in his mind. his voice across the wire was in such a way that she felt instantly at ease, even on the darkest of days. he sent her a faded photo for her to keep near her, taken at such an angle that she felt she could see right into him where he’d been, what he was looking for all these years, where they could go together. she first sent him a picture that wasn’t of her smile, reminding him of how she was both complex and utterly pure in how she felt about him. he already knew her eyes – they were tattooed in his mind – they pulled him closer to her, they kept him honest, they were his sanctuary anytime he felt scared. years later he would tell anyone who would listen about that first chapter in their story, show them the photos of them – she laughing at his serious pose, the days they spent near the shore, that candid someone took of them, clearly mad about each other. and they knew, they had one hell of a story.