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War Torn Ch. 04

Erich informed me that his aunt's farm was just a few more hours away. He was ecstatic, giddy with the thought of companionship, and frequently told me so. I was thrilled as well, but it had been so long since I had last felt joy, I could not fully break free from my melancholy state of mind. My heart alternately raced with excitement and terror at my decision. I could find little comfort except in the calming nature of Erich's smile. Each time his face split into a grin I admired the accompanying twinkle in his eye, and was warmed as if by the sun.

We spent the remainder of the journey talking together in the compartment. I told him something of my life—my happy childhood, my decision to attend school only to be called back home when my grandmother fell ill, and my determination to become a nurse after I heard news that Germany had declared war. I told him of the eighteen months of strenuous medical training that I had undergone, and of my eventual placement with the Convent of Saint Nicholas. I told him of the verbal abuse I had endured from the nuns, and of the licentiousness of the patients. By the time I had finished divulging my story, he was speechless. He shook his head and promised that I would not have to return to such a life.

As the day wore on, I was reassured by the constancy of his company. We sometimes sat quietly together, other times we exchanged stories, and every so often, he turned to kiss me. I had been kissed by others, but Erich's kisses were something beyond what I had experienced in my school days. His lips were soft, and the short whiskers on his cheeks and chin scratched against my face. He held me firmly, but his touch was tender. For the first time I felt as though I was with a man, not a boy.

During one such kiss, I became aware of an awakening sensation in my body. At first, I felt feverish—my cheeks were flushed and my limbs quivered as if I were chilled. Then, something deep within me began to open up like the blooming of a flower. I could not explain the sensation, but it made me long for his touch. When we had exhausted the kiss, I could not bear to have him pull away from me. I wrapped my arms about his neck and buried my face into his shoulder and neck. He smelled like fresh baked bread and wool and rain all at the same time. I lifted my head from his shoulder and he looked into my eyes. Everything about him was comforting, and I knew that my life had been transformed when he entered this compartment just one day ago.

******

"We should reach the village soon," he said after a long period of silence. I nodded, my heart suddenly in my throat, as I contemplated the reality of the situation. "It is three miles from the station to the farm, and we shall have to walk."

"Are you well enough to walk three miles?" I questioned.

The previous evening I had seen how the pain in his leg could take hold of him, and I worried that the exercise of walking would be too strenuous. He did not meet my eyes, but responded with optimistic conviction.

Erich began to pack his things. I had only my valise, which sat unopened at my feet. I donned my coat and gloves, and sat to watch the trees and fields slowing as they passed the window. In the distance I could see a small shingled building surrounded by signal lamps: the station. The sight of it made me giddy. The train began to scrape to a stop and my pulse quickened. I rose and picked up my bag, then walked to where he stood with his rucksack. My mind was quick becoming a blur of nervous questions, thoughts and memories. I hardly noticed the final stoppage of the train carriage, or that his hand had gripped mine and led me out of the compartment.

When my feet hit the hard packed dirt that surrounded the little station, I jolted back into reality. Here I was, a nurse who had abandoned her position during wartime to be with a man she had known for less than 36 hours. I glanced behind me at the cold, blackened metal of the train, then at Erich, who still tightly held my hand. He was smiling and his eyes twinkled with excitement. The knot of anxiety in my chest eased, and I squeezed his hand. It was all so sudden and so absurd, but it was my new life.Erich informed me that his aunt's farm was just a few more hours away. He was ecstatic, giddy with the thought of companionship, and frequently told me so. I was thrilled as well, but it had been so long since I had last felt joy, I could not fully break free from my melancholy state of mind. My heart alternately raced with excitement and terror at my decision. I could find little comfort except in the calming nature of Erich's smile. Each time his face split into a grin I admired the accompanying twinkle in his eye, and was warmed as if by the sun.

We spent the remainder of the journey talking together in the compartment. I told him something of my life—my happy childhood, my decision to attend school only to be called back home when my grandmother fell ill, and my determination to become a nurse after I heard news that Germany had declared war. I told him of the eighteen months of strenuous medical training that I had undergone, and of my eventual placement with the Convent of Saint Nicholas. I told him of the verbal abuse I had endured from the nuns, and of the licentiousness of the patients. By the time I had finished divulging my story, he was speechless. He shook his head and promised that I would not have to return to such a life.

As the day wore on, I was reassured by the constancy of his company. We sometimes sat quietly together, other times we exchanged stories, and every so often, he turned to kiss me. I had been kissed by others, but Erich's kisses were something beyond what I had experienced in my school days. His lips were soft, and the short whiskers on his cheeks and chin scratched against my face. He held me firmly, but his touch was tender. For the first time I felt as though I was with a man, not a boy.

During one such kiss, I became aware of an awakening sensation in my body. At first, I felt feverish—my cheeks were flushed and my limbs quivered as if I were chilled. Then, something deep within me began to open up like the blooming of a flower. I could not explain the sensation, but it made me long for his touch. When we had exhausted the kiss, I could not bear to have him pull away from me. I wrapped my arms about his neck and buried my face into his shoulder and neck. He smelled like fresh baked bread and wool and rain all at the same time. I lifted my head from his shoulder and he looked into my eyes. Everything about him was comforting, and I knew that my life had been transformed when he entered this compartment just one day ago.

******

"We should reach the village soon," he said after a long period of silence. I nodded, my heart suddenly in my throat, as I contemplated the reality of the situation. "It is three miles from the station to the farm, and we shall have to walk."

"Are you well enough to walk three miles?" I questioned.

The previous evening I had seen how the pain in his leg could take hold of him, and I worried that the exercise of walking would be too strenuous. He did not meet my eyes, but responded with optimistic conviction.

Erich began to pack his things. I had only my valise, which sat unopened at my feet. I donned my coat and gloves, and sat to watch the trees and fields slowing as they passed the window. In the distance I could see a small shingled building surrounded by signal lamps: the station. The sight of it made me giddy. The train began to scrape to a stop and my pulse quickened. I rose and picked up my bag, then walked to where he stood with his rucksack. My mind was quick becoming a blur of nervous questions, thoughts and memories. I hardly noticed the final stoppage of the train carriage, or that his hand had gripped mine and led me out of the compartment.

When my feet hit the hard packed dirt that surrounded the little station, I jolted back into reality. Here I was, a nurse who had abandoned her position during wartime to be with a man she had known for less than 36 hours. I glanced behind me at the cold, blackened metal of the train, then at Erich, who still tightly held my hand. He was smiling and his eyes twinkled with excitement. The knot of anxiety in my chest eased, and I squeezed his hand. It was all so sudden and so absurd, but it was my new life.

torn   war  

Jun 21, 2018 in romance

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