Wicki's was in German and he refused to read it to them. Not that reading out their love letters was something the Basterds did all the time, but now it was a vaguely fun way to not think of death around the campfire.
Wicki had been seeing another German immigrant before the war began and although they weren't serious about each other, right before he had been dropped into France with the Basterds, she had sent him a letter filled with her best wishes and prayers for his safety. Hirschberg had seen it once and began teasing that it was addressed "Mein Leibling" before a quick punch to the gut shut him up. Wicki kept it safe in inner jacket pocket, occasionally re-reading it on his night watch shift.
Utivich had a small stack of messages from his sweetheart and several pictures of her. He showed them off whenever anyone asked, proudest of the snapshot of them together, his arm around the tiny girl in a cheerleading outfit. He said he wanted to marry her when they got back to the States. No one had the heart to tell him that their chances of getting back alive were so slim.
Not one of them believed that Hirschberg had a girlfriend. They claimed that the picture he had was clipped from a magazine and teased him mercilessly until he had tried to slug Donny for the teasing. Donny stopped them, even if no one else did.
Kagan and Omar did not like to mention their last girlfriends. Kagan said once that she had broken up with him for signing up for the army, angry that he wanted to go out and die. He told them once that he would have apologized to her, said sorry for leaving her all alone, but he knew that joining up was the right thing. Omar did not talk about his girl at all, save for the one time he had called her a bitch and spat into the campfire.
Stiglitz did not talk about women. Neither did Aldo.
Donny had started the whole trend of reading aloud their love letters on the night before they had left the states. He had gotten a letter from the last girl he had dated in Boston. Or rather, the one that he liked the best out of all the girls he had been dating at the time. He'd opened the envelope and laughed, calling the boys over and wanting them to hear this.
"This girl is crazy," he told them. "Seriously, the best. It goes like this:
Dear Donny Donowitz,
I'm just letting you know that you're an idiot and that you better do some good work out there. Why you made me sign that ridiculous bat is beyond me. I know you didn't have Hannah sign it and you were dating her just as much as me. You got that, Donowitz? I knew you were dating all the ladies on the block and I didn't care that much. Cause I was your favorite and they all knew it. It about broke their hearts to see you go, but me? I'll be just fine. You go out and kill some people, but don't expect me to be waiting for you when you come back. I always knew that Donny Donowitz was the guy you love out of your mind but you never marry him. Do good, Donny, and maybe I'll see you when you get back. If some other Joe hasn't snatched me up, I'll consider taking you back. Till then, you got a snapshot to look at dream about what you're missing. Do me a favor and kill a few Nazis. Yours, Lisabet."
They all laughed, Donny most of all, but Utivich noticed the tears leaking from Donny's eyes and the way he gripped the photo so tightly. When he showed off the photo, he told them all that he liked her for her spunk and not her looks, which Aldo had agreed that was apparent.
Sometimes, around whatever fire they had made in whatever part of France they were in, they talked about their girls. Utivich spoke the most about his Annie, Hirschberg about Caroline, and once they had even convinced Wicki to talk about Agna, but Donny spoke about all his other girls except Lisabet. Aldo found her handwriting on the bat one day, and noticed that Donny had a tendency to put his hand there when he wasn't swinging it at someone's head.
Hirschberg had caught a stray bullet as they moved towards Nadine to meet with the double agent. Utivich had promised the dying man that he would tell his ma and his girl that he was a hero. Hirschberg smiled in his goofy way and just drifted off. They gave him a quick and sloppy burial and kept moving because that is what Basterds did.
When everything had gone wrong at the tavern, Utivich wanted to be able to tell Wicki the same thing, but he never saw him. Only Aldo went into that basement to fetch Von Hammersmark and they all kept moving towards Paris without a word about it.
When they were suiting up for the premiere, Utivich helped Donny tie his bowtie and strapped the dynamite to his ankle. He did the same for Omar as Donny took his picture of Lisabet and stuck it in the breast pocket of his tuxedo jacket. Wordlessly, he handed the letter to Utivich and walked off to his death.
When they walked towards the theater, Utivich unfolded the letter and noticed the postscript that Donny had failed to read to the other Basterds.
"PS: I'm lying. I love you. Come home to me."
When he got back to the States, he went to Connecticut and found the girl who wanted to be Mrs. Caroline Hirschberg and told her how much Gerold had loved her. She was tougher and more beautiful than her picture gave her credit for.
He went to Boston next. Lisabet sat on the couch next to Donny's mother and dissolved into tears as soon as she heard. It took him everything he had to not cry with her. He wanted to weep for all the friends he had lost and all the lives that they would never get to lead, but he didn't. All he did was hand Mrs. Donowitz her son's prized baseball bat and tell Lisabet, "Donny loved you too."
He got back to Brooklyn and proposed to Annie. She was so happy that she cried and he cried a little too, happy to be home and with the woman he loved more than anything. He whispered in her ear, "Your love letters got me through."
Just something that came to me after seeing the movie again last night. Reviews are welcome.