Bobbie's Girl

Reads: 784  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Despite the falling bombs from Hitler’s Luftwaffe, Ethel feels safe in Bobbie’s arms. Bobbie is Ethel’s world. She can’t imagine a life without him. But when Bobbie joins the Royal Navy, Ethel finds herself alone and vulnerable. Fear stalks her at every corner. Will she survive the bombs and loneliness?

Submitted: May 08, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 08, 2015

A A A

A A A


For the previous year, the war had seemed so distant. It was just something you hear on the wireless, or watched at the picture house. For the most part life carried on as normal, but slowly things were changing.  Besides the blackouts and barrage balloons, the first real change that I noticed was the lack of wolf whistles when I walked past the factory gates. The male workers have been replaced by women, the men having answered the call to arms.  It was a bit of a joke at first but now things were becoming serious.

Despite it being midsummer, a shiver ran through my bones. Keep calm and carry on, the posters told us. But I did not dare venture outside for too long. A fine dust hung in the air. It dried my lips and gave me a constant thirst. A young newspaper seller hollered the headline.

 ‘Nazi bombers turn on London.’

I didn’t need to buy a newspaper to tell me that. The evidence sat on the opposite side of the street. It was a strange feeling as I joined the group of bewildered onlookers. We gazed at the smouldering wreckage of my local dancehall.

The pain still raw, I wiped a tear from my eye. Just like the masonry, so many of my memoires now lay in pieces. I hadn’t expected to mourn for bricks and mortar. But seeing its rubble corpse caused me much heartache.

This constant in my life was now gone. Gone forever. I was brought from reliving my memories by a hand on my shoulder. My heart skipped at seeing my husband, Bobbie. His eyes hidden in the shade from his flat cap.  I leaned into his comforting arms. “I still can’t believe it, Bobbie.”

“I know, the Local tax office is just two doors down, ‘n’ all... not even a broken window pane. Where is the bloody justice in that?”

 “The war suddenly feels so personal.”

“You can say that again.”

 

Like every Sunday, after church we walked in the park. The war wasn’t going to stop that. While we walked hand in hand, I could tell by Bobbie’s quietness he had something on his mind. So it was no surprise when he stopped to sit on a bench. I sat at his side and rested my handbag on my lap. Biting my lip, I watched Bobbie gaze across the duck pond. “Are you going to make me wait any longer?”

“Make you wait longer for what?”

“I know you too well, Bobbie. What is it? Is everyone OK?”

“Yes, everyone is fine.”

The fear of the unknown scared me more than Hitler’s bombs. I brushed Bobbie’s cheek. “Then, what is it?”

”I’ve decided to do my bit.”

“You already are. You’re in a reserved profession.”

“I know. But... I want to do my bit for King and country. Join the Navy just like my Pops did in the Great War.”

I was suddenly reminded that losing Bobbie was in fact my worst nightmare. “But Bobbie, please.”

“I can’t bear the guilt any longer. Everyone I know has signed up or been conscripted. And just because I was lucky enough have a good job, doesn’t mean I should leave it up to them to do the fighting.”

“But what about me?”

“I know, I know, I’ll miss you every second that I’m away.” Bobbie choked. His lips shook as he glanced down at his brown shoes. “But you have to understand, that there are a million other lovers out there who have already made the decision... the right decision.”

“But it’s not that we just love each other. I know nothing but you.”

“Every day I walk to work and I see nothing but women staring at me. I’m seen as nothing but a coward.”

“I know you’re not. You’re my hero.”

Bobbie took off his flat cap. “I have to go.” He rolled the cap in his hands before glancing at me. “It’s only right.”

 

It had been a week since Bobbie had signed up. We sat at the table for our last meal together before he left for war. I struggled to hold the tears back. But I knew I had to, because I could tell Bobbie believed in what he was doing.  Seeing how proud he looked made it easier for me not to breakdown.

I held the napkin to my lips as I chewed. “How is your chop, Bobbie?”

“Bloody brilliant, not had a chop in over a year.”

“Almost too good to eat aren’t they?”

“I dread to think what lengths you had to go to, in order find them.” Bobbie stared at me from across the table. “You didn’t sell yourself did you?”

“Of course not. I’m Bobbie’s girl, remember?” I smiled and stretched my arm across the table, showing him the gold wedding band. “I wear it with pride, every day.”

“I want to wear you every night.”

“Oh Bobbie, you dirty bugger.”

“Come here, you.”

“Oh, eck.” I screamed as Bobbie jumped off his chair and chased me around the table. He grabbed me in his arms and lifted me over his shoulder. I laughed and kicked out, sending my high heels crashing to the floor.  “Put me down.”

“Seeing as I’m going to be surrounded by men for God knows how lon.  I think I need to make the most of you.”

“Aye, Aye, captain. Full steam to the bedroom.”

 

I felt lost in his eyes. Our sweat drenched bodies glistened with love as we embraced each other. Our white skin was painted a ghostly white by the moonlight that spilled into the room from the window.  There was no way Hitler’s Luftwaffe would ruin our last night together. Curled up on the bed, we listened to the whistles and explosions. Despite the blast tape the glass windows rattled with the vibration of bombs. Ignoring the impending danger, Bobbie brushed his fingers through my hair while whispering sweet nothings into my ear. From the bed I gazed out of the window, watching the burning horizon.

 No matter how much the fires raged... they couldn’t burn as fierce as my love for Bobbie.

 

The inevitable nightmare arrived. Next morning I stood on the platform at Waterloo Station. My knuckles had turned white while gripping tightly to Bobbie’s hand. The platform was a sea of uniforms while the air felt damp with tears. On hearing the guard shout his last warning to board, I burst into sorrowful tears. Although I knew I had no choice but to let go, my hand remained entwined with Bobbie’s.  “I can’t let you go. I just can’t.”

“I’m sorry.”

In the hope that the Navy wouldn’t miss one sailor, I pulled Bobbie back from the train. “I don’t want to lose you. What if you don’t come home?”

“I will.”

Blinded with sadness I fell into Bobbie’s arms. I rolled my head on his chest, my tears darkening the navy blue of his jersey. The guard called again, this time his voice carried a threat. But I did not care. I was being parted from my love, my soul mate, my life.

I framed Bobbie’s face with my hands, then locked my lips on his. “You better come back.” 

“I won’t rest until I set my eyes on you again.”

 The moment Bobbie let me go I felt an emptiness which I feared would never be filled again. Watching him board the carriage, I dropped to my knees.

The shrill of the whistle caused me to stand. “Bobbie!” I ran towards the carriage. The glass misted as I planted my face against window. Bobby lowered the window, then reached for my hand. “Ethel, you have to go.”

“I can’t.

” You’ll get arrested... or worse, fall beneath the carriage.”

 The train began to move. I held on for my life and kept the pace with the train. I heard the guard’s shouts for me to let go, the threats. But they all paled to whispers, drowned out by my beating heart.  I began to jog, to run. I lost a heel, then stumbled and fell. Bare footed, I attempted to catch up, but Bobbie disappeared in a cloud of steam.

The train’s whistle haunted me from that second onwards.

 

My life never felt the same without Bobbie. The bombs continued to fall. House after house disappeared. Street upon street suffered the same fate as the dancehall. Hitler seemed to having his way. Mercifully, Bobbie’s letters arrived weekly. He kept me updated with his training and gave me the name of his ship he was about to join at Portsmouth.

Then the letters stopped.

According to the wireless the naval dockyards at Portsmouth had taken a pounding. My heart bled. I waited for news, but it didn’t come. I called the ministry but they kept me in the dark. Then a uniformed man and the local priest turned up at my door... I couldn’t bear to open it. I covered my ears and closed my eyes. Dropping to my haunches, I rested my back against the door. My life wasn’t worth living without my Bobbie.

Despite their continued knocking, I remained on the floor. A letter was pushed though the letter box and dropped on my blonde locks.

Needless to say it wasn’t the one I had hoped for.

 

Weeks crawled by as if they were years. The pain remained raw. Consumed by darkness, all I could do was focus on my mourning soul. However the blitz continued. The bombs rained down heavier than ever.  It somehow felt apt, that I was surrounded by such death and destruction.  When the planes came I didn’t rush for the shelter. I just laid there waiting, waiting for a direct hit.

 It never came.

When the sadness did fade, it was only replaced with questions. Anger swept through me. I questioned Bobbie’s love for me. Why did he go when he didn’t have to?  Did he not value what he had here?  I felt abandoned... abandoned by the one I loved.  

Kind words became a grind. People kept giving me the same advice. Life goes on. Keep your chin up. Try and enjoy life. They meant nothing to me. I no longer cared about life.

The sirens began. But I did not seek shelter. Instead I left the house. The streets were alive with people rushing to the communal shelters and the local tube station. I did not follow. Hopefully this was my night.

Screams and blasts provided the midnight chorus. Tracer fire crisscrossed the heavens, while I walked through a fiery hell. Houses burned and embers drifted like falling stars. Ear piercing explosions did not unnerve me, did not fear me. I continued to walk in search of my fate, waiting for the reaper’s scythe.

I became blinded by a brilliant brightness. A searing tornado whipped me off my feet, before plunging me into darkness. Yet I felt nothing.

I wasn’t sure if I had my eyes closed, or if they were open. It was just as dark either way. There was no pain, no sadness. My ears picked up nothing but silence. Was this purgatory?  Am I in between life and death?

Someone then turned on the light. I smiled as Bobbie stood over me. He brushed my hair with his hand, the same way he always did. I wrapped my fingers around his and held his hand against my cheek. We laughed about old times, about our friends back at the dancehall. How we hoped the war would be over and everything would returned to normal.  Still squeezing my hand, Bobbie reached down and planted a kiss on my lips. “Don’t let go.”

My lips moved but nothing came out.

“Keep hold and you’ll be OK.”

I could hear a bell ring. My world returned to darkness, but I still held on to his hand. “Bobbie?” The hand squeezed back. I heard voices, lots of voices. In immense pain, I screamed, “Bobbie.”

“She’s alive... God, the girl’s alive.”

“Please, please, help me.”

“Don’t worry, Girl, we got you. Just keep hold of my hand.”

 My heart raced as I coughed violently. “I’m here, I’m here.” The smoke hurt my lungs, and I could feel the heat from down below. “I’m here. Oh, please God, help me.”

“Hurry up lads, we haven’t got all day.”

Daylight suddenly pierced the walls of my prison of rubble. The hand began pulling, causing me even more pain. But the relief of being freed felt like a new life. I was born again.

 

Sat on fallen masonry and wrapped in blanket, I was handed a cup of tea by a girl from the Red Cross.

 A piece of paper blew across the cobbles and fluttered against my naked foot.  Then I realised it was an upturned photograph. Reaching down I picked it up. It was a picture of me and Bobbie.

I don’t know where it came from, or how it got there. All I know is, that I’ll always be Bobbie’s girl.

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Dominic Murphy . All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Romance Short Stories