Feb 11, 2021
 in 
Dispatches

Dear Jack

By

Inga Arvid

Dear Jack,

Last night there was a hard knock on my door. The janitor came in and said somebody wants a person called Inga-Binga. Is that your married name? I looked puzzled, went to the phone and a very optimistic voice said “Will you pay a collect call from John F. Kennedy in Chelsea, Mass? Well, nobody ever knocked me with a hammer on the head, but compared to that news it would have been mild.

You once said, as a matter of fact last Sunday, “To you I need not to pretend—you know me too well.”

I don’t, not because I have put you on a pedestal—you don’t belong there, nobody does—but because I know where you are weak, and that is what I like. A man or woman who thinks and makes others believe that he has no weakness in him or her, well they are like diamonds cut by the unskilled hand.

As I told you, I know you pretty well and I still like you. You know, Jack, that is a hell of a compliment because anyone as brainy and Irish-shrewd as you can’t be quite like a white dove. But by golly, you have a strong hand, one I like to shake, and it ain’t bad looking into that steady left twinkling eye either.

Sometimes when I sit with you in your car, see your young eagerness on the golf course, or feel that you have some tenderness in you, then I would like to say ‘Darling, I am true, white, red and blue…’

You are going away.

A thing I have known for months and I suppose most women would be proud and say “Go and defend your country.” I say the same, but somehow the pride is not there, only a hope that God will keep His hand safely over you.

Plans? I love to hear that word, because you always have a hundred. The 99 you tell me, and the one which you really hope will materialize you keep to yourself. Maybe wise. Maybe right.

Maybe your gravest mistake, handsome, is that you admire brains more than heart, but then that is necessary to arrive. I can’t wait to see you on top of the world. That is a very good reason why war should stop, so that it may give you a chance to show the world that here is a man of the future. Whatever happens, let us have lunch together the first day you are ashore, shall we?

5:30 a.m. Suddenly the building shook itself like a great dane in front of a fire place.

The noise was infernal, and I opened my sleepy rather bewildered eyes. There could be no mistake. It was without a doubt the air-raid warning. I jumped out of bed and sad “Better get out of here quick” …. (Wonder what it reminds me of???)

The first time I missed anybody and felt lonely and as though I was the only inhabitant of Washington. Loving—knowing it, being helpless about it, and yet not feeling anything but complete happiness. At last realizing what makes Inga tick.

A human breast to me has always been a little like a cage, where a bird sits behind.

Some birds sing cheerfully, some mourn, others are envious and nasty. Mine always sang. It sang so loudly that I refused to listen to that other little sensible creature called reason. It took me the FBI, the U.S. Navy, nasty gossip, envy, hatred, and Big Joe before the bird stopped.

In the beginning, I was just stunned, darling. Slowly, I began to wake up.

Distrust is a very funny thing, isn’t it?

I knew when Kick got a letter from you today why you haven’t written to me. There was a peculiar feeling at the realization, that the person I love most in the world is afraid of me. Not of me directly but of the actions I might take some day. I have made up my mind that nothing can be done, because big Joe has a stronger hand than I. I can kick and scream and it will not bring me any further. A very passive part in a tragic-comic play, that is the one I have.

If Adolf walked through the door, I have an excellent kitchen knife, sharp enough to make shreds of the little Austrian housepainter, who played with the world, and is only sorry he cant open it up and see what makes it tick.

When things clear up, I mean the Washington weather and my own spirits I shall write you again.

Until then all that is good, decent, honest and loving in me belongs to you Jack.

Twenty-five years. I hear it weighs heavy on the shoulders.

Responsibility and life is just starting. Happiness and pain. Hope and failures. Love and hatred. And as you know, you will have plenty of it all. That golden goblet which contains the elixir of life will be drunk greedily by you. But you have so much brains that you will know when to sip and when to make it bottoms up.

It is funny. In reality, we are so well matched. Only because I have done some foolish things must I say to myself, ‘No.’ At last I realize that it is true. ‘We pay for everything in life.’

What I really wanted was to say: HAPPY BIRTHDAY

much love from Bingo.

Inspect the plants.

Play your life as you want it. Go up the steps of fame. But- phase now and then to make sure that you are accompanied by happiness. Stop and ask yourself, ‘Does it sing inside me today?’ And wherever in the world I maybe, drop in I think I shall always know the right thing for you to do. Not because of brains. Not because of knowledge. But because there things deeper and more genuine—love, my dear.

I am off to bed…I will be seeing you—here or there or somewhere in the world, and it will be the best or rather second best moment in a lifetime. The best was when I met you.

That is all Ensign, or is it Lieutenant?

Inga Binga:

What the hell is the story? What exactly is your situation? Do you remember a certain remark about ‘dinner and breakfast’ when I get back? Just give me the straight dope on that will you, so I know if this whole thing is worth fighting for.

I used to have the feeling that no matter what happened I’d get through…It’s  a funny thing that as long as you have that feeling, you seem to get through. I’ve lost that feeling lately, but don’t feel bad about it. If anything happens to me, I have the knowledge that if I lived to be a hundred I could have improved only the quantity of my life, not the quality.

This sounds gloomy as hell…I’ll cut it…You are the only person I’d say it to anyway. As a matter of fact, knowing you has been the brightest part of an extremely bright twenty six years.

Inga Arvid

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