Short Story Sunday: In Loving Memory…

Bildschirmfoto 2013-12-27 um 16.43.53

(First written in 2008, edited and handed in in 2010; the picture is from my Creative Writing Portfolio from 2010)

We were lying still. The thoughts were racing in our heads, unheard. It was a warm August night with an endless clear sky and uncountable bright stars. It was our favorite time together, lying down in the grass in our little garden listening to the sounds of nature by night, just sometimes interrupted by the noise of a distant car.

I felt your arm around my waist; heavy, strong and warm and I didn’t mind it holding me. Suddenly you pulled me closer. I lay my head on your chest and heard the steady beat of your heart. I closed my eyes. Inhale. Exhale. Your breathing weighs me in peace and security. “You are beautiful” you said and kissed my hair. I drew a heart on your chest with my finger and felt the gentle shiver of the goose bumps covering my body. My Wedding ring was glittering in the moonlight.

“When the sun wakes, I have to leave…” You paused and my eyes filled up with tears and a single one made it on to your shirt. “Hey… do you remember which promise you gave me?” you said while sitting up with me in your arm. Of course I did; the question was: could I keep it in the end? I simply nodded. “You will be a tough girl, right? Until I am back, you will keep on living a life you deserve to live, without worrying too much about me.” Again I nodded and wiped away another falling tear. “That’s my girl!” You lifted to sit against the tree; I followed and you held me so close in your arms I couldn’t move. Your scent hit me without warning; so good I would never forget it. I put my arms around you and we sat in this embrace for a while.

“Are you scared?” I asked you, still listening to your heart beat. “No…” you answered and instinctively I knew that this wasn’t the truth at all. I looked you in the eyes and said “Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. It is normal that you are scared of what might happen and of what you might do.” “You know… the thing I fear the most is that one day a black car will drive up this road and it won’t be me who will get out of it, but a general with a letter for you… You don’t deserve such pain!” You kissed my forehead and sighed. “The whole time they have been preparing us how to hold the gun and fire with it, where to hit the enemy to injure and to kill them, how to work under pressure…but, I have never killed a man before and now I should start doing it for the sake of my country?! I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like… in war… I have to kill a man whose wife is waiting for him at home, a man who is loved by a woman he loves, just like me and this in the name of peace?! You know that I don’t want to do this and I know it too, but those who command us and tell us what’s to be done, don’t seem to know this at all…” Tears formed in your eyes, tears made of anger and injustice. I was helpless towards this kind of tears; I could just hold you and hope, wish and pray for the best.

***

“Maidy, you coming?” Reality sets back in. I need a moment to locate myself, while I turn around to see where William’s voice came from. The cemetery… right… “Just a moment, dear.” He nods and tries to catch up with the others. I slowly turn around again; I know what awaits me there with a certainty. The tombstone, cold, dark and polished, stares at me and I just stare back. It stopped raining and I risk a look from under my black umbrella to the meanwhile light blue sky. I draw in the smell of the grass before I start talking. “Gregg, I know that you can hear me. The kids are doing great and I am soon to become a grandmother. Who would have thought that, the kinds of me, a grandmother? I can imagine you smile right now. It is our own little precious that is pregnant… 25 years already… how time flies… She is due in September, which makes another six months, but still… William is a wonderful man just like always; he is very patient with me and manages to handle me pretty well throughout the years, he really must love me. I am very thankful for that because you know how I can be sometimes. But he will never fully replace you, not in my heart at least, there is still a big space with your name written on it. There is not a single day where I don’t think of you. Gregg, I will love you forever. I miss you more than I could ever put it in words.” With that, I kiss my fingertips and place them on the tombstone. I lay down my rose and next to it lands a single teardrop. Without giving the tomb a second look, I lift and make my way to the gate.

©R.I.O.

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