Goodbye, Mary-Rose

Reads: 177  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Goodbye, Mary-Rose

 

They say it’s more acceptable for an old man to cry than it is for a young fellow, but old habits often die hard. That’s why I turned my head away when my granddaughter, Norma, handed me the faded photograph from the pile she discovered while cleaning the attic.

As I stared at the image, I could feel the tears making their way, unbidden, triggered by the nostalgic memory of that day at Union Station so many years ago. A snapshot in time captured unaware by my Uncle George.

It was the last time I would ever see my dear old mother alive.

Mary-Rose Hemsworth was dying that day. She knew it, and so did I. Despite her condition, she insisted on rising to the occasion to see me off. She had traded her hospital gown for her best coat and frilly hat.

My mother wanted to say goodbye at the station because she loved me. She also wanted to give me something of great importance. A talisman she had faithfully carried since her early childhood in London.

I would be boarding a train shortly destined for flight training at CFB Trenton before shipping overseas to do my part in the great Battle of Britain. Although I realized at that time that I was about to participate in something dangerous, I truly didn’t know just how dangerous it would turn out to be.

It was only after the war ended that the staggering statistics emerged. In addition to the thousands lost in the nightly raids over Europe, nearly 15,000 young men lost their lives in aerial training incidents alone.

As a wartime bride from the first ‘war to end all wars,’ my mother understood what waited in store for her only son.  As a widow from that same war, she knew the heartbreak so many families would experience in the days to come. She looked up into my face with tears in her eyes.

“Roger, I want you to have Lucky Tommy. Keep him close to your heart whenever you fly. He’ll keep you safe.”

“I can’t take Tommy. You’ve had that scruffy rabbit’s foot since you were a baby.”

My mother can be persuasive. I took Tommy, kissed her goodbye, and went in search of my destiny. I left her standing alone, bathed in sunbeams from the station window. It was the saddest day of my life.

Lucky Tommy stayed with me for the duration. He was still wrapped in my hand when they pulled me from the flaming wreckage of my Hawker Typhoon. I kept him with me during the long months of painful recovery and when I was shipped home with multiple pins in my right leg. And he was there the first time I cried at my mother’s grave.

Now it was time to pass the baton. I took Lucky Tommy from my vest pocket and handed him to my young granddaughter.

Then, I gently kissed the old photograph and whispered, “Goodbye, Mary Rose.”

 

 

 

(500 words contest entry by Wes Snowden)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: April 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 easywriter. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Flash Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by easywriter

Book / Romance

Book / Romance

Book / Romance