Vladimir begins interjecting “I love you” into the middle of paragraphs, occasionally into the midst of another thought or a sentence. This is a practice he will continue throughout the correspondence. The effect is both touching and disquieting: every thought is suffused with Vladimir’s concern but also beset by the possibility that an incantation is necessary to keep love and Véra afloat. This mixture of devotion and anxiety would later be used to conjure up images of their son, Dmitri, and his activities, in what should be seen as fleeting caresses, sent from afar: “Boings, boings, boings against the highchair footstep in the kitchen each morning”; “I dreamt that my little boy was sick and stepped out of the dream as if out of hot salted water. I love you”.