“Sleep Well, My Love”
This is a letter written by a man named Brian Keith, who served in World War II, to Dave, a man he met while serving in North Africa. They fell in love, but the two were separated and never able to see one another again, because Dave passed away. This letter was originally printed in ONE Magazine, a pro-gay magazine back in 1953.
This is in memory of the anniversary of October 27th, 1943, when I first heard you singing in North Africa. That song brings memories of the happiest times I’ve ever known. A ring and promise given. The night of pouring rain and two very soaked GIs beneath a solitary tree on an African plain. A warm sulfur spring, the cool Mediterranean, and a picnic of rations and hot cokes.
One cold, windy night we crawled through the window of a GI theater and fell asleep on a cot backstage, locked in each other’s arms. The shock when we awoke and realized that miraculously we hadn’t been discovered. A fast drive to a cliff above the sea. Pictures taken, and a stop amid the purple grapes and cool leaves of a vineyard.
The happiness when we were told we were going home and the misery when we learned that we would not be going together. Fond goodbyes on a secluded beach beneath the star-studded velvet of an African night, and the tears that would not be stopped as I stood atop the sea-wall and watched your convoy disappear over the horizon.
We vowed we’d be together again “back home,” but fate knew better. You never got there. And so, Dave, I hope that wherever you are these memories are as precious to you as they are to me.
Goodnight, sleep well my love.