“Who are the violets now, that strew the green lap of the new-come spring?”
- William Shakespeare
? Violets under the Snow ?
But, my dear, you should not worry so.
In a matter of mere days, a boat will come to ship us off, back to our home and family – back to your arms. How I miss you. Mere days, I say – but each minute is a very eternity on its own when I'm an ocean apart from you.
With all my love,
P.S. Here in France, they say 'une violette' – but what's in a name? That which we call a Violet, by any other name would smell as sweet.
Inclosed was a dried flower, once a deep blue but now faded with the passing of time to a pale and light pastel color. A violet – the small plant carried the same name as I did, as Robert used to remind me regularly.
I caressed the top right corner of the stiff paper with a trembling and wrinkled thumb over the fading ink of the date.
September 15th, it said. 1944.
Robert always said my name was very suitable for me – according to his musings, violets were modest but strong. They could split the rocks of mountains, and they bloomed beneath the snow whilst the others waited for spring to burst.
It was true, in a way. I had always been a timid and quiet person, even before the war – and my experiences had been bound to make me stronger. Tougher.
Not only mentally, but physically, too. I had lost a considerable amount of weight, and my once gentle curves turner boney. My round face turned hollow, my eyes empty. I had turned old when my body was supposed to be blooming.
Apparently, this strange violet did not bloom under the snow blanketing its heart.
I folded the yellowing letter slowly and tucked it in its envelope. Then I lifted the dried flower, so very carefully, and slipped it in too – steadily. I had a feeling that, if I touched it even the slightest bit too roughly, it would disintegrate in a thousand little pieces, crumble to dust.
Fifty-seven years it had been already. Over half a century my heart had been bleeding, and my soul had been broken – injuries even the most qualified surgeons could not heal.
I had envied Robert. Several times, I'd been jealous of him for getting to be the one to pass away quickly, in a flash, without pain – leaving me to be the one in agony, the one suffering over losing him. The one with the memories, the one alive.
For now, at least. I shifted in the hospital bed. Terminal cancer was my creeping killer – fifty-seven years too late.
Delighted laughter pierced through the air, coming from outside the window next to my wheeled bed. I turned my head just enough so I could see the hospital's public garden bathing in the rare sunshine.
A young girl – approximately seventeen, maybe eighteen – ran from the double entrance doors straight to a boy of the seemingly same age, who had been sitting on a wooden bench under a willow tree. As soon as he saw her, though, his first concerned expression turned into a relieved one, a blissful one. He jumped up with a smile so broad that it crossed my mind I had never seen one like it – and when the laughing girl reached him, he caught her and swirled her around in circles.
I had seen that girl before – she had been hospitalized in the same department as I had – Oncology. According to her brilliant grin, though, it seemed that her chemotherapy had been effective.
As I watched, the boy – her boyfriend, I gathered – put her down and twisted his fingers in her long brown hair – a wig, I knew. Chemo was effective, yes – but scarring.
The two didn't move for a while, caught up in their little bubble. A world of their own. They just stared into each other's eyes, smiling with a happiness I knew no words for. The boyfriend's shoulders were shaking lightly, and the girl fingers went to touch his cheek in response.
I did not know what I felt at that moment, watching the couple celebrating modestly, but so intensely.
Joy. I was happy for them – she survived, he would not be alone. They were together, like I and Robert would never be again.
Envy. Never again. I longed to feel Robert's hands touch my skin, tangle my hair, like the boy was doing to the girl now – my chest ached as if there was a large black hole instead of my heart beneath its surface.
Pain. I could just imagine him smiling at me like that – like he had when my father had given his consent to our engagement.
Why could that girl survive cancer, but could he not have stepped one meter to the left? To the right, Why did he so precisely have to step on a land mine? More miracles had happened, I was sure.
Consequently, September 17th, 1944 – barely two days after his last letter – came to be my doom's day.
Never together again. Too much had happened, too much had passed – how could there be a God after this? I did not believe those tales anymore. Dead. Gone. Lost.
Buried like violets under the deep winter snow.
In spite of my thoughts, my facial muscles seemed to have a mind of their own as they contracted and slowly let my wrinkled, weathered lips pull into a smile once more.
A/N: Hi peeps :) New story up! Long time no see huh? But I really did have to put this up for zadudet1's Write or Wrong Contest. I voted for that name :P Got a thing for word plays.
On another matter: I would like to dedicate this story to my sister, Amber. May she be in a better place now - September 17th 2011.
Even though this story is not nearly good enough. I kind of lost the mojo. If I ever had one. Well, let's suppose I had one and now lost it :)
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