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A Dear John from John

I had read all 200 odd letters from John to Dorle without getting a real sense of when their relationship ended, but then I ran across this undated letter that I had somehow missed before. Maybe Dorle had kept it in a different place in her apartment.

Dear Dorle:

I shall probably not see you again. This is neither reaction nor repentance- it is simply the realization that to see each other is fatal for us both. I hope that you will not be angry when you read this- but I know now that half-measures are no good and to pretend an indifference which I DID not feel would be impossible. This is not my intellect but myself writing. It will be easy for you to taunt me, whether you let me know or not, and I shall always taunt myself because my feelings are very mixed in making this decision. But I know that my presence poisons your powers of decision and I know that my own intuitions falter whenever I know I may see you.

Good-bye, dear, and I don’t think that this is premeditated or anything but the sudden realization that responsibility for decisions cannot be dodged by me. You have made me very happy and very unhappy. I am sure to repent of this action but I shall not take it back.

Good-bye, daring!

I’m actually not so sure that was the end of the affair. The beginning – “probably not see you again” – equivocates even if the end does not, and they had gone back and forth so many times before.

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