War

War

A Story by lrigD
"

A woman sees her man fighting a war, and it breaks her down.

"

No one could ever have prepared her for this. These feelings, these powerful surges of emotion going through her. She does not know how to handle them. All she can do is try to cope with them, and hope for a better situation some day.


Why had no one ever told her? She is quite sure this happens to more people. Then, why has no one ever even mentioned it? All the adults in her young life, everyone who has been through it. Why?


It is not an emotion of modern times. Women all over the world, at all times, fear when their men go away. Would you not? Your friend, your husband fighting at the front, along with thousands of nameless men, waiting to be killed? Yes, she is sure she is never going to see him again. Life has never shown much pity with her.


Growing up in her family was the first sign of that. Three brothers, a father who drank more than he could handle and a mother who watched it all with empty eyes. No, life has never been easy for her. Friends, though first kind to her, abandoned her whenever they saw her house and family.


She was ashamed of them. Her brothers were the most decent of them, but they were not much better either. Being the local ladykillers, they had more children than they could afford. Their disdainful way of regarding women was continued in their own families. Her father adopted this attitude and her mother and she were never appreciated much.


They were told to shut up and work. That is how she grew up, that is what she learnt in all those years. Do not stand up against men, or bad things will happen. She knew they would happen, for she had already experienced them.


And then she met him. At first, she did not even notice him - a mere shadow in the crowd. Someone else along the rows of men and women. She did not notice him until she dropped her handkerchief and he picked it up for her. Then she saw his beautifully large grey eyes, with their yellow specks and dark edges. Not until then she noticed his messy brown hair, his broad shoulders, his long legs. And not before that she felt his lips upon hers, his hands upon her body.


He was everything she had not known before. Friendship, love, appreciation, respect, admiration. No more shouting, no more melting into the background. Nobody approved of them, but that did not stop them from buying a small house. It did not discourage them to get a child, a beautiful girl.


And now she was standing in the doorway, looking at her husband who was leaving again after his short break. He looks so proud, standing upright and walking firmly. His injured leg does not hurt him at this moment.


She does not cry, does not whimper, but on the inside she is breaking down. Her daughter looks at her questioningly, her eyes full of childlike curiosity and sadness. She cannot tell her what she thinks. Her daughter has to grow up without those thoughts, without those fears. Without a father.


--


Her feelings when she first saw him coming back were unbelievably good. Emotions she had never felt before. Extreme joy and happiness. All fear and dark thoughts of the past year were pushed to the background when she ran towards him and flung her arms around his neck. At first, she did not even notice how tired he looked, how worn his clothes were, how sad his eyes stood. She was just incredibly glad her coming child could at least meet the father, the one who brought so many happiness in her life.

Later, when they sat around the wooden table with hot tea in their hands, the shock came. Her disbelief. And the pride. He had been through all of it, and he had returned. With scars that could not be removed, with pains and uneases he had not had before, but he was still in the world of the living.


But when she lay in their bed, looking at the dark ceiling, she could not lose her feeling of coming dread. She tried to ignore it. She tried to concentrate on the dark person lying next to her, snoring slightly in the cold night. He was back. He would stay for a few months. He would meet his child. They had hours, days, weeks in which they could make up for all lost time. The dirty looks of the villagers would hurt her less when she would have someone to share them with. She would just shake them off like an uncomfortable dress and walk on with her head held up.


The feeling did not go away, no matter how hard she tried. The next months were enjoyable, pleasant and wonderful, but there was always a tone of darkness in them.
He had problems with what he had done and seen. When the sun disappeared, his moods went down like the rain. When they finally lay down, tired of playing, his dreams were filled with screams and blood.


She tried everything she could to help him. She started feeling like she had long ago, before she had met him, but this time it was better, because she wanted it.


When the feared message came, she stayed calmer than the messenger had expected. He put the scribbled note on the wooden table and disappeared cautiously.


Her daughter screamed for milk. She gave it absent-mindedly. Her thoughts were with her late husband. How had he died? She was sure it would have been like a man, proudly facing the enemy. His grey eyes would have looked at the enemy, challenged them to kill him, and the enemy would have done so with more difficulty than usual.


The villagers stayed away from her, now a widower. Widowers were supposed to save themselves. She still was young and quite pretty - she was expected to marry someone else soon to maintain her and her daughters.


But she could not. No one could replace him. She did not want anyone to. She could, and would, take care of herself. He would not have wanted her to die like she had been born - careless, without any love.


And when death finally came upon her, quietly like a silent wave, she faced him with the same pride as had shone in her husband's eyes so many years ago.

© 2010 lrigD


Author's Note

lrigD
I wrote this 3 or 4 years ago, which you can see (or I can, anyway) in the language... My English has improved now! :)

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Added on September 6, 2010
Last Updated on September 6, 2010

Author

lrigD
lrigD

Netherlands



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