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War Torn Ch. 05

The walk to the farm was not as difficult as I had feared. The road was dusty and pitted with wagon tracks, but the fields and orchards that lay on either side of it were at the height of the growing season and breathtakingly beautiful. Erich strode confidently beside me, all the while describing his memories of the little house that would soon be our home. I could not help but notice that he stopped once or twice during the trek to drink out of a small flask. Whiskey, I assumed, to help with the pain in his leg.

I first saw it as we began to ascend a steep rise. It was a small white building set on the hillside to overlook the pastures below. To the north of the house was a large barn, and in the rear of the barn were visible an orchard, springhouse, and sheep fields. As we drew nearer, I spied overgrown gardens surrounding the house. Discarded tin pails, remnants of farm tools, and broken pottery littered the short path from the road to the side of the house. A few dirty windows peered out from the heavily weathered daub that covered the outside of the building. We paused before opening the door. Erich was exuberant, and I laughed to see his delight at returning to a place he so clearly loved.

The doorframe was swollen, and it took the full force of his weight to budge the door. When the hinges finally creaked reluctantly and the door swung open, a cloud of dust and plaster bits rained down upon us. I followed Erich through the doorway and into the dark little kitchen. The only illumination in the room was the pale sunlight that crept in from windows on the southern and eastern walls. The place smelled of drying herbs, smoked meat, and clean linens. I breathed it in as I examined my new surroundings.

I was standing in a crowded room. A rustic tiled stove stood to the left of the entry door and beyond that, another door led to a small storeroom. At the center of the room was situated a worn wooden table flanked by two mismatched chairs. Tucked into the southeast corner of the room was a solid wooden bedstead. A tall linen press stood to the right of the bedstead, and a rugged ladder stood against the wall beside it so that one might climb to the loft. Crocks, baskets, and pots were tucked in every corner and on every shelf. Garlands of flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables were draped from the rafters. It was a cozy and entirely charming little house.

Erich walked from one side of the room to the other, running his fingers over the furniture and occasionally brushing dust away. He opened cupboards and picked up books, trinkets, and mementos, exclaiming his memory of each item. After a number of minutes, he turned toward me and smiled broadly.

"How do you like it?" He asked.

"It's wonderful," I answered, I crossing the room and standing on my tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek.

The sun was setting, and the little house began to grow cold. Knowing that his aunt had always kept a full woodpile beside the house, Erich carried in wood for the stove. Once a good fire had been lit, he took two pails from beside the stove and went to fetch water. Meanwhile, I lit the few candles that I could find and began to prepare a small meal from what I found in the larder. There was a good supply of early apples, as well as potatoes, onions, and a wheel of cheese. It was so long since I had seen food like this that my hands shook as I sliced the potatoes. Soon I could smell the few onions, potatoes, and apples that I had put in the pan beginning to fry, and my mouth watered.

Erich returned just as the potatoes began to sizzle in the pan. He set down each water bucket beside the stove and turned to latch the door. The room was snug and warm, the walls bathed in the soft light of the candles. I filled a pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. He was seated at the table, watching me. I set a steaming plate in front of him, but he would not eat until I had also been served. So we sat together, eating quietly and savoring every morsel of the meal. At last, the plate was empty and I rose to wash the dishes. As I reached for the plate in front of him, he gently took hold of my hand to stop me.

"Anna, it's been a long few days. You should rest now. I will do the cleaning."

I did not argue. While he went about washing the dishes, I began to think about sleeping arrangements. The mattress on the bed was bare and lumpy, so I opened the linen press and examined its contents. There were a number of clean but threadbare coverlets, as well as a set of creamy white sheets. I smoothed and tucked the sheets around the dense straw mattress as best I could, then spread the coverlets over the top. It was not a pretty place to sleep, but at least it would be warm. I liked the eccentricities of the bed—it was nothing like the sterile white sheets and tight brass frames of the convent. When I had finished making up the bedclothes, I turned and sat on the bed to watch Erich. He had just returned the frying pan to the top of the stove, and he flashed a smile at me.The walk to the farm was not as difficult as I had feared. The road was dusty and pitted with wagon tracks, but the fields and orchards that lay on either side of it were at the height of the growing season and breathtakingly beautiful. Erich strode confidently beside me, all the while describing his memories of the little house that would soon be our home. I could not help but notice that he stopped once or twice during the trek to drink out of a small flask. Whiskey, I assumed, to help with the pain in his leg.

I first saw it as we began to ascend a steep rise. It was a small white building set on the hillside to overlook the pastures below. To the north of the house was a large barn, and in the rear of the barn were visible an orchard, springhouse, and sheep fields. As we drew nearer, I spied overgrown gardens surrounding the house. Discarded tin pails, remnants of farm tools, and broken pottery littered the short path from the road to the side of the house. A few dirty windows peered out from the heavily weathered daub that covered the outside of the building. We paused before opening the door. Erich was exuberant, and I laughed to see his delight at returning to a place he so clearly loved.

The doorframe was swollen, and it took the full force of his weight to budge the door. When the hinges finally creaked reluctantly and the door swung open, a cloud of dust and plaster bits rained down upon us. I followed Erich through the doorway and into the dark little kitchen. The only illumination in the room was the pale sunlight that crept in from windows on the southern and eastern walls. The place smelled of drying herbs, smoked meat, and clean linens. I breathed it in as I examined my new surroundings.

I was standing in a crowded room. A rustic tiled stove stood to the left of the entry door and beyond that, another door led to a small storeroom. At the center of the room was situated a worn wooden table flanked by two mismatched chairs. Tucked into the southeast corner of the room was a solid wooden bedstead. A tall linen press stood to the right of the bedstead, and a rugged ladder stood against the wall beside it so that one might climb to the loft. Crocks, baskets, and pots were tucked in every corner and on every shelf. Garlands of flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables were draped from the rafters. It was a cozy and entirely charming little house.

Erich walked from one side of the room to the other, running his fingers over the furniture and occasionally brushing dust away. He opened cupboards and picked up books, trinkets, and mementos, exclaiming his memory of each item. After a number of minutes, he turned toward me and smiled broadly.

"How do you like it?" He asked.

"It's wonderful," I answered, I crossing the room and standing on my tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek.

The sun was setting, and the little house began to grow cold. Knowing that his aunt had always kept a full woodpile beside the house, Erich carried in wood for the stove. Once a good fire had been lit, he took two pails from beside the stove and went to fetch water. Meanwhile, I lit the few candles that I could find and began to prepare a small meal from what I found in the larder. There was a good supply of early apples, as well as potatoes, onions, and a wheel of cheese. It was so long since I had seen food like this that my hands shook as I sliced the potatoes. Soon I could smell the few onions, potatoes, and apples that I had put in the pan beginning to fry, and my mouth watered.

Erich returned just as the potatoes began to sizzle in the pan. He set down each water bucket beside the stove and turned to latch the door. The room was snug and warm, the walls bathed in the soft light of the candles. I filled a pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. He was seated at the table, watching me. I set a steaming plate in front of him, but he would not eat until I had also been served. So we sat together, eating quietly and savoring every morsel of the meal. At last, the plate was empty and I rose to wash the dishes. As I reached for the plate in front of him, he gently took hold of my hand to stop me.

"Anna, it's been a long few days. You should rest now. I will do the cleaning."

I did not argue. While he went about washing the dishes, I began to think about sleeping arrangements. The mattress on the bed was bare and lumpy, so I opened the linen press and examined its contents. There were a number of clean but threadbare coverlets, as well as a set of creamy white sheets. I smoothed and tucked the sheets around the dense straw mattress as best I could, then spread the coverlets over the top. It was not a pretty place to sleep, but at least it would be warm. I liked the eccentricities of the bed—it was nothing like the sterile white sheets and tight brass frames of the convent. When I had finished making up the bedclothes, I turned and sat on the bed to watch Erich. He had just returned the frying pan to the top of the stove, and he flashed a smile at me.

torn   war  

Sep 4, 2018 in romance

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