The Night In '45

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Leaving your American Girl.

Submitted: March 17, 2014

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Submitted: March 17, 2014

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That Night in ‘45

I can still remember that night in the year of 1945.  The war was crazy with everything.  My family was without many things, yet compared too most, we were still living.  I can still remember my girl.  Carolyn’s cute, turned-up nose and her bright blue sparkling eyes.  When I look at the stars, I see the freckles on her face.  She was my American Pie.  Everything included except the cinnamon.  I don’t like cinnamon.

That night I left, well; it was the day of my greatest baseball game.  It was the Crocs against the Javelins.  We Javelins one by an amazing run, my amazing run.  We were two outs into the inning, the bases loaded.  The hit was great but it was no home run.  Yet, somehow, we all made it home.  The game was won.  Carolyn was there.  But that was earlier that day of ‘45.

I knew that because I had made that shot, I could make it.  I would fight in this war over in Europe.  I knew I would.  I had too.  After the game, a couple of friends and I enlisted together.  The men and I had prepared everything.  We were 18 and able-bodied.  We could help in the war.  It was bad enough telling the family.  It was a complete nightmare leaving Carolyn.

That night, that same night of the great game, I left my crying mother in the kitchen.  I ran to my girl’s house.  I tossed a few pebbles at her second story window.  When she finally heard me, the window opened into the warm night air.  Her face showed surprise and confusion.  What was I doing here late at night with a uniform on and a pack on my shoulders?

Carolyn returned inside and soon after, returned at the window.  She began to climb swiftly down the large tree by the house.  She was now wearing pants.  I didn’t see her often wearing pants.  She smiled questioningly at me and asked, “John, what’s all this for?  Why… why-why the uniform?”  She was holding back tears.  I could see them in her glittering eyes.

I could hardly speak, myself, “My dear Carolyn, I go off to the war.  That is my duty now that I am old enough.”  Carolyn bit her lip and closed her eyes.  The first tear sprung from her eyes.  It was full of the night stars.  “What… what made you want… want to go?”  She heaved a sob but held her face up.  “Well, you see, it’s a funny story,” I sighed a quick laugh and thought back to why I first wanted to join, “Grandpa, you’ve met him, I think, has told me many stories of the wars he went through.  Well, and I just wanted to see if they were still done the same way.”

“I was passing the corner at Capper’s Coral, and well, you know the poster, the one on the far left wall?  Well, Uncle Sam was pointing right at me.  It was like he was really telling me that I needed to join up.  Then, ever since, that was what I wanted to do.  But… I was too scared to tell anybody.  Even you.  I was afraid that you would keep me from going.”  My voice sounded hollow amongst the crickets.  Carolyn stepped forward and grabbed my hand gently in hers.

She spoke quietly again, without stuttering, “John, you know I would never stop you from doing something that you knew you had to do.  Sometimes, things are supposed to be like this.  But I understand.  Even with all the knitting I’ve been doing for the troops, I feel like I could and should be doing more.  But I am not old enough, yet.  I wish I were going with you.  But sometimes, things are not supposed to work out just right.”  Then, she looked into my eyes.

I held Carolyn’s gaze for a moment, but I grew ashamed that I had not told her and pulled away.  “Now, my Captain, there must be another reason why you want to join.”  So I told her the rest of the story, “You remember the comic books that came out a few years back?  You know, with Captain America?  Well, he said he didn’t want to kill Nazis.  He just didn’t like bullies.  He wanted to stand up for the ones who cannot stand up for themselves.  That’s what I want to do.  Gosh, I wish I could use my own words.”

Carolyn said, “That’s okay.  It was beautiful enough.”  Then, I suddenly had another reason, “And the men on D-Day!  How brave, valiant and horrifying that was!  I want to help them!  I could be a part of that!  I wish I did not fear death.”  Carolyn now cried freely, “Oh, John.  Wh-why are you always so-so dramatic.  I believe in you.  I will believe in you.  And I won’t stop.  I promise.  But I would be greatly… overly distressed if you were to be… if you were to be… killed.  Oh, John!!!”  She sobbed into my arms.

“Dear Carolyn, you will always be my American Pie.”  Carolyn’s muffled voice came from my now wet uniform, “Without the cinnamon.  And you will always be my Captain America.”  She tore her head from my arms, “I’ll miss you, John.”  I gently kissed her on her damp, warm forehead, “I’ll miss you too, Carolyn.  I will send you letters whenever I may.  I promise.”

From there, I turned.  Carolyn stood, alone on the trampled grass.  I walked away, glancing back at her more than twice.  Would I ever see her again?  I stopped.  I had my own tears in my eyes, now.  I turned one last time.  There she was, already waiting for me to come back.  I waved.  She slowly, but bravely, waved back at me.  That was the last I saw of my American Pie.  But that was a night long ago in the year 1945.  Now, I am old.  My stories have been told.  All accept this one.  But know, my good reader, that now my secret is safe with you.  My secret of this night in ‘45.


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