If you’ve received this, something has happened and I am no longer alive, or no longer healthy enough to stop this from being sent. As I sit here it’s odd to imagine something happening to me. My life and my position are relatively sterile and dull. But there is war coming, and nothing is certain. So I have written to all of you because I don’t wish to be remembered as something other than what I truly am. I don’t fear death. My only fear is that one of you die before me, not having read these words. So please, whatever you may think of me, do me the favor of suffering my letters.
When I left school I was cool to you. I devoted myself to my work and our relationship faltered because of it. I except full responsibility for that, and I will admit to it being deliberate.
The reasons for this were twofold. One was simply selfishness. I am ambitious – that you know. I was willing to give up all personal relationships for my ambition. I was willing to put you aside, despite you being the only person in my life who saw me for what I was and liked me regardless.
The second reason was lesser, but at least less contemptible: fear. I was and still am uncertain about the progression of this war, but I am the Minister’s trusted right-hand man. I will not be in a safe position, no matter how things play out. I will be in danger, and anyone close to me will be a target as well. You don’t deserve that, particularly not over a pretentious prig like me.
You can do better, and I hope whenever this finds you you have done better and are happy and settled.
You were a light in my life, Penny. Never doubt that. You gave me the feeling of being loved for myself, which is something I have not often had. I’ll remember our time together as the most free time in my life. My priorities were simply skewed. They still are, I think. But I’ll live my life as best I can. I know you’ll do the same. You were always a better person than I.
Be happy, Penny. For me.