War-scarred



‘I love ‘I love you,’ he said.
‘I love you too,’ I replied patting his hand. He is a good man. Always there for me when I need him.
‘Thousands of livelihoods are in danger now. With Europe trying to avoid a worldwide crisis, Britain has been ostracised. We are one nation alone,’ said the radio presenter. ‘And now, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No.1.’
            My memories of the Great War had not faded. My husband was only 18 years when he was drafted into the army. The years to follow were harsh. Many young people perished. Those who survived, had suffered mentally. And now…this. The world was on the brink of another crisis.
            I looked around me. My kitchen had not changed much – apart from these new posh cupboards. We had lived here all our lives.
            . He looked very handsome reading his paper with a cup of tea in his right hand. I was very proud of him.
            ‘Do you remember?’ I said. ‘Our parents got their shillings together and bought us this house. We don’t go swimming anymore. Shame really because the beach is only a mile down the road. Still have the windbreakers, mind you. Maybe later on, what do you think?’ I asked.
            He just looked at me and smiled. There was a melancholy in his smile.
            Elgar marched on; bringing back more memories of those young men going over the trenches facing the certainty of a brutal death. Their short earthly visit was about to be cut short. Many families were left without a son, women became widows, and children no longer had a father. The worst of all was that they did not know about it. They were going about their daily activities, unaware how much their lives had been violently changed by an inch of hot metal thousands of miles away.
            ‘Land of Hope and Glory,’ bellowed the choir.
 Most of the soldiers would be dead very soon. All they could hope for is a short painless crossover. They did not want to be the ones who would lie for hours in agony in this hellish field, pleading for an end to their misery.
            ‘Do you want another cup of tea,’ he said bringing me back to the now.
            ‘Yes luv,’ I said grimly.
            The days were getting shorter. I looked out of the window at the sky, full of heavy clouds readying themselves to offload. The rambling had started. Like those damn canons raining death upon our boys.
            ‘Will you have to fight again? Are you going to die?’ I asked him.
            He looked at me puzzled as he placed the steaming cup before me.
            ‘No one is going to die. Enjoy your tea, whilst it’s still hot’ he said softly.
            ‘But the radio said Britain is alone again. I don’t want you to die Cyril.’
            ‘Mum. I am your son James. Dad died 5 years ago. The radio was talking about the Stock Market Crashing. People are fighting for their livelihoods.’

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