By now you will have received the greetings from our jovial get-together at the bridal shower of our fellow choir singer Ilse Wend, which we held at the Restaurant “Germania”. Today, now that I have slept off my small buzz and the wedding nuptials are over, I want to answer your lovely letter.
At various points in my last letter I wrote —I had to write — the word God, and I did so not without some apprehension. I would not like you to misunderstand. It is that much more consoling and reassuring to me that you have a connection to God.
Three days have now passed since I received your so very kind words. Allow me to express my heartfelt gratitude for the trust you have placed in me. I know to treasure it. I will never forget how you showed me the meaning of the concepts “desire and love” in such genuine, vivid words. I was able to tell that we think the same way about many things. I feel and think several things, and yet I often don’t have the ability to put it into words. Perhaps this is the reason why:
Our correspondence has reached a point where it can only be advantageously continued if we are completely honest with ourselves and with each other, and this stipulation confronts me with the decision whether, for the first time in my life, I should place my trust in another human being in certain things that, up until now, I had always reserved for myself, in the deepest reaches of my heart. I believe that you are an open and honest person and consider you worthy of my trust.
I received your letter yesterday. Thank you very much. Above all, because I was allowed to confide in you, you could perhaps extend your hand to me as my guide. I know that I am putting you in an embarrassing situation; but you must be able to understand me. Do you know what it means to possess a girlfriend, who inwardly, however, is as foreign as any other person? If you must carry alone all suffering, which one cannot escape in life? I am certainly not one of those who lets herself get discouraged by the slightest event; but this time I find that I can’t go on alone. I must unburden my heart to someone. And the person whom I unconditionally trust is you, Mr. Nordhoff. I believe in you, therefore I can confide in you.
I want to be gone from here! I cannot bear life like this anymore – because I love you too much. Do you understand? Everything in my homeland reminds me of you and sometimes I feel like it’s braying into my ear: “never again — never again!” I know that it is not allowed to be; that I am not an equal match for you. Therefore, I must go, must forget. It hurts so much when one must repress what is barely blooming and always show the world a calm, friendly face. But deep inside the heart it constantly pierces and hurts. Tell me, have you anytime in your life loved someone so deeply and then fate intervened with a rough grasp? I no longer know what I should do. I had intended to sign up for Labour Service or the voluntary two-year honor service as a nurse. However, my boss is not willing to release me from work. I have not yet informed my parents about my resolutions. But I know they will not stand in my way, if it is in my best interest. Well, I ask you, Mr. Nordhoff, tell me if you can. I can’t seem to get a saying by our poet Friedrich Rückert [The Wisdom of the Brahmin: A Didactic Poem, Book 1.1, transl. Charles T. Brooks, 1882] out of my head. Do you think one can believe in it?
If ill befalleth thee, count it a blessing still;
If ill thou takest it, that is a sorer ill.
Forgive thy friend if he tormenteth thee; and know
He is not well, or else he would not vex thee so.
And if Love woundeth thee, let that but spur thy love;
For, that thou hast the rose, the thorn doth surely
I conclude now by thanking you for allowing me to write to you and will remain hopeful for a message from you soon, with best wishes,