Hero in War, Loser in Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a love story with an unexpected ending, set in England during the second war.

Submitted: September 18, 2014

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Submitted: September 18, 2014



Just like my father, I had a strong love for my homeland. I felt it was my lifelong aspiration but also his expectation that I follow the footsteps of my forefathers and gain employment in the RAF. I was willing to become a martyr in order to protect this magnificent country of Great Britain. I suppose when I was younger, I never saw myself working as anything other than as an ambassador to protect the crown. My father had fought in the Great War of 1914 and had been a well-respected authority in our community. I had always idolised his bravery and courageous traits. I would be filled with pride if I was to ever become half the man he was. When the War ended and the soldiers returned home, I was sorrowful as my hero did not come home. Before he left, I made a promise that I too, would also fight for this fine country if the need ever arose, and I wasn’t one to break a promise.

It was the summer of 1938, and I had just turned twenty-three. I remember that summer was the hottest ever recorded in South London. That was also the summer I fell in love. Heather was unlike anyone I had ever met before. She had moved to North London to live with her aunt as her father has passed away. It was by chance that I met her at the Piccadilly Fair. Although she lived in Hackney and I was from Greenwich, I cycled over to see her as often as I could. I truly fell so deeply for her. She was charismatic, magnetic, electric and in that way I understood her and I loved her. Our love was passionate. When I received a telegram that I was to be transferred to the Trenches in Eastern Berlin, I was dismayed. With Heather by my Heavenly side, we began to build our lives as one, my second love for Great Britain drifted in a haze of other forgotten thoughts in my mind. War was no longer my priority, Heather was. Remorse and guilt were my dominant feelings when Heather and I planned to marry a week before my deportation. She deserved more than a poorly, quickly organised wedding. I knew how important the sanctity of marriage was valued on the Wilson’s side. I promised her once I returned after the war, we would renew our wedding vows and give Heather the wedding she had always envisioned, but my love was determined to become man and wife before my departure. We married on Saturday, July 14th 1939. It was no the service I had anticipated for my endearing bride.

Maybe I had been naïve with my expectations of what life in the trenches would be like. These men did not do this work for the job, they did it for the pride of their country. I soon became immune to the cold, wet conditions of the dark earth. The rats became company. Death become an everyday occurrence. Although I respected every Englishman there, I tried every effort not to build a friendship with anyone after Tom. He was Scottish born and raised. Albeit we only knew each other for two months, our relationship had a stronger foundation than our temporary home, it was as solid as concrete. He had a photograph of his wide and four offspring, he would countlessly recollect his memories of his beloved family. Tom was shot amongst the midnight darkness in September. I would write to Heather once a week and she returned the favour. I declared my undying love through my poetic expression I forever longed to fulfil my burning desire to be safe and at home with my Heather. I had to fight for England but in my heart, I was fighting for my love.

Every bullet that abandoned my fire-arms symbolised pieces of my heart turning to dust the longer I remained in the trenches. I can recall a November night, I was set in a trance, gazing at the twilights in the blackened night sky, I couldn’t help but wonder if my beloved was on the other side of Europe sharing my wishful longing for my return home. I lost myself in my concentration, that I did not realise the German bullet reaching its destination through my left bicep. I felt my knees collapse from under me, as if there was a sudden loss of gravity on earth. Having spent six months in a German hospital, my new address was a rehabilitation centre. In my fall, I had suffered a concussion. I had now been away from my wife for a little over a year. Due to my injuries, I was to return home to finally live a settled life.

England was as beautiful as I had remembered in my dreams. When I returned once again to Greenwich, there was only one place that I wanted to go, No. 4 Albert’s Cross. I witnessed Heather from a distance. I witnessed her luscious locks, her pale skin and her arms entwined with that of another. Just like my departing emotions one year ago, I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces. I soon discovered that Heather received devastating news in a telegram that I had been fatally wounded. After mourning my loss for six months, her grief was met by a second love. I walked away into the distance with a heavy sigh and a lonesome heart. I knew my life would no longer be the same…..

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