Somewhere in the United Kingdom, (Early Morning) 22nd May 1982
She lay on her back staring at the ceiling; the tear tracks down her cheeks still shining in the curtain-filtered streetlight. She sighed. Rolling onto her side with more than a little difficulty, the bulge of her stomach was huge now, needing sleep but unable to close her eyes for long, she just stared - blankly. Avoiding any conscious thought. Imagining herself running from unseen horrors, on and on she fled; looking back it always seemed to be gaining on her.
The nightmare always caught her in the end. That’s when the tears would come again. Feeling so alone, so helpless, abandoned. The news said the landings had begun. There were no pictures of course, 3 weeks delay they said. The tabloids were still talking about that bloody ship - the one that had been sunk by a British submarine or something.
They’re calling it bomb alley. The planes pop up from nowhere and hit the ships.
Her thoughts played randomly as she lay there.
“I’m sorry!” Chris had said.
“What for?” She had answered.
“My mother, she says she’s going to visit you everyday whilst I’m away.” He confessed.
He always could make her laugh from the first day they had met. Her memories came flooding back, she shut her eyes to make the pictures come clearer in her mind.
The drunken man staggered and waddled, he burped and squinted – trying to focus - at everyone in the pub, eyes eventually resting on Shona.
She looked fantastic that night, her long brown hair with the natural curl at the end, the perfect frame for her elegant yet compact facial features, the sparkling eyes giving just the slightest hint of her shrewd intelligence. Long soft legs highlighted subtly by her knee length skirt.
The drunk man - now fixated on her - approached the table. “‘Scuse me darlin’, you l-l-look stunnin’. Fancy a shag?”
“No thanks.” She answered politely.
“Fuckin’ hard nosed bitch.” The drunken man lumbered toward her with fists clenched – clearly not one for rejection – Shona stood and stared at him despite the fear gripping her stomach.
Concentrating so much on keeping the alarm from her face she didn’t notice the other man approaching until he stepped into her line of sight.
“Come on mate, let’s get you another drink.”
“An’ who th’ fuck ur you?” The drunk radiated hostility.
The other man just smiled and darted his head forward stopping just short of a head butt to stare directly at the bloodshot eyes of the other.
“Someone you definitely don’t want to fuck with. Now, you either accept the drink and calm down or you piss off out the door. Those are your only options.”
The inebriated man gulped and looked like he was going to reply but thought better of it. He turned and staggered for the door. Shona watching him leave as she sighed in relief.
“Next time a drunk asks for a shag, jus’ say yes. Saves me hassle.” He grinned at her.
Realising the man was talking to her she laughed.
“I’m Chris.” He thrust out his hand and she shook it.
“I’m Shona. Thank you for that. Can I get you a drink - as reward?”
“Yeah why not.”
Lying on her bed she giggled tearfully as she remembered that night.
He left next day for a tour of duty in Northern Ireland but they kept in touch. For six months she worried about him and wrote to him often.
Who would be a soldier’s wife? She asked herself, smiling sadly.
© Copyright 2016 M K Brown. All rights reserved.