To my dearest Miska:
Are you faring well? Your last letter reached me. I wish I could see the newborn of the neighbors, Heikki was his name, right? A strong name for a strong child, I hope it grows as healthy as his parents. Please give them my congratulations.
As for the house, do not worry, I trust your decision, whatever you choose, I will give you my support. I cannot wait to see the changes you are planning to make, I trust your judgment.
Please do not overwork yourself, I already asked the priest Jukka of the nearby village to help you if you ever need it. His face was full of wrinkles, perhaps from frowning so much after seeing so many young people marching to an unknown destiny. I do not blame him when he looked at me with those eyes, it is our duty after all. In the end, I think I never heard what he had to say, he just stayed silent and nodded at my suggestion. Could you please give him some of your baked goods? I’m sure he will be delighted, after all, you are an amazing cook. I wish I could taste some of your cooking. What pains me is that I left you there with our children, forgive me. I know that having the priest’s help won't be the same, but please bear with it. I'll make sure to return next spring and I’ll bring you your favorite flowers, snowdrops. I’ll make sure to give you many of them.
How are our children? I couldn't say goodbye properly to them. I hope my absence won’t be too scary for them. I trust you with them and please tell them that I love them, that I will return to them and to you. Is Akseli behaving well? He can be quite a rascal, just like me when I was his age. I suppose he takes after me. Has Valma gotten any better with her cough? There should be a jar with some honey from last spring. Please give it to her, if I remember correctly, it should be in the left cabinet of the kitchen, top shelf at the bottom. It might be difficult to reach it, after all, I’m the only one who is tall enough to use it, you might need a chair to reach it. Now I regret putting the jar so high, if I had known Valma had gotten sick during my absence, I would have changed its place. Please be careful when using the chair, I know you are agile, but I can’t help but worry. I still have that photograph you gave me. I look at it every night and every time I can. I love seeing your smiles.
As for me, this job is tiring. We were sent to an unknown destination. You already know how the winters are, wherever you go, it all looks the same. The same tree, the same hill, the same deer. Even the same patch of green grass that miraculously survived the freezing temperature. It's eating me from the inside, I can feel the cold on my skin, biting me mercilessly, trying to win over me, but I fight it, for I know that you and the children are waiting for me at our house, by the fireplace.
I do not want you to worry about me, I’ll be fine. I have good comrades, we care for each other, even if the situation is this difficult. The sun is just as dangerous as the snow, we have to avoid it as well, thankfully I could grab my coat before leaving. That white heavy coat, remember? The one I use in the middle of winter whenever I have to work. It is keeping me safe, but I can still feel the coldness. Is it because seeing so much snow has affected my mind? Who knows, what I know is that seeing your photograph brings warmth to my heart. In fact, I keep it in my pocket closest to my heart, to always carry you all with me. I wonder if more of my comrades do the same? Although some of them come from poor families, they don’t have good equipment, much less give them a better one. I have seen some of them fall under the relentless cold, and we haven't even gotten close to our final destination.
I’m worried about my comrades. They are good people, good men, they also have their families waiting for their return. There is this comrade, old man Perrtu, that’s how we call him. He has gone through many things, has his face full of wrinkles and has a missing eye, but he still keeps his smile, even if he has some missing teeth. When the night comes, he tells us stories to keep our high spirits. He also sings and we sometimes join him. For the younger ones it’s a good influence. The youngest in our group is at least 17 years old, his name is Paaveli. He is a good boy, really strong and humble, but has a shadow in his eyes. He is way too young to be in this place with us, but he told us he forced himself to come, he felt he needed to be here and do something to avoid the situation going to worse. I am glad Akseli doesn’t have his age yet.
I’m running out of time to write. I can’t write for much longer in this cold, I have to take off my gloves to do so. The last words in this letter will be only for you, my dearest Miska. I hope everything ends next spring, and when it does, I will return to your embrace. I dream of seeing your golden long hair swaying in the gentle breeze of the spring, with your warm smile and your beautiful eyes, as deep as the lakes that surround our home, waiting for my return on that hill full of flowers. I will run back to you with a bouquet of snowdrops, that I promise. And when I see you again, will you give me a kiss?
Even in the blizzards of our homeland, I will always be yours.