Image and Reality
Simonov's life divided between time spent at a variety of places on the front line and visits - probably short at first - to Moscow for debriefing, writing up and re-assignment. He saw Valentina when he was in Moscow; but when he was on the front line - and particularly when he was in danger of death - she increasingly became an ideal for him, bearing little relation to the real woman.
The ideal was necessary to him, in order to survive. ..