This was one of my first short stories, it is hard and terrible. War touches more than those who are fighting. This is also on Shortbread Stories
I’ll be there in a minute
Hello – Are you there, I am at the station now, I know you are there, you always are. It’s quite busy here but of course you know that don’t you. As I look around it is so unreal, like looking through aged Plexiglas, scarred and scratched, opaqued by time and use. The shades move about on the other side, drifting and unreal. You would probably know it, for you it would look just the same, our station, but to me it is another world.
When they came and told me, two men, uniforms and sad faces, there was no pain. It was too great, too powerful that feeling to describe as pain. Too far beyond any human capacity to feel, a great, endless nothingness. No way to travel through it – no way back
They told me that there was not much left of you, not enough to recognise as you. There would be a box, brought back on the plane and paraded through the streets, a box, a flag and pomp and ceremony but not you.
The arms, your arms would not be there, your beautiful, strong, clever hands they were vaporised. Enough of that, you are not there in the box you are here with me now on this platform, in the underground.
As I stand here now, do you know I have no shoes on – I wanted to curl my toes over the edge of the platform, the same as we used to do on the high diving board and so I stand now in my business suit and no shoes. A man further along looked at me puzzled but, this is England and so you don’t talk to a woman in a business suit and no shoes. He turned away, wrapped his conscience back in the newspaper and left me with my bare toes curling over the hard stone.
Today when I left the house, took a last look – the daffodils are in flower by the way, of course I suppose that you know that, where you are. Anyway, I left and I looked at the garden with the swing in the sunshine and I understood that one great pain, the loss of the babies was now so clearly a great blessing. If they had lived I couldn’t have come today, I would have had to carry on, meet our responsibilities plodding on forever and so there we are. We can all be together now, you and the babies and me.
I have left it all tidy and as you would like it to be. There shouldn’t be too much trouble for anyone, they have all had enough already so I have tried to be kind and make you proud. I am ready to leave now, I want to be with you and let you take care of it all again.
Are you ready, I can hear it now, the train is coming, my toes curl over the stone, the wind rushes through the tunnel, are you ready. I am coming now, the train is coming. I can see it – wait for me I’ll be the……