I rested my chin on my knees as I pulled my legs to my chest, watching the sun set on a cool evening. The stars began to appear in the darkening sky, casting an odd mixture of day and night. My head hurt from crying and my throat was sore, but the twilight breeze soothed my aches and calmed my wild emotions for the time being.
Though all of Mother's comforting words, I knew that they only sent the ones so ill that the field doctors found no success in treating them. It was simply a gesture of being sent home to die, rather than dying in their horrific camps. I shuddered, trying to suppress a new wave of sobs.
Wordlessly, Nellie slipped up beside me, seating herself gently on the ground. She held out a glass of water to me, her kind gesture making me smile. I dabbed my eyes, wet from fresh, developing tears, and took the glass. "Thank you," I murmured, sipping from it. It felt good as it washed down my tight, burning throat.
We both sat silently, and I was glad she didn't urge me to speak. Her company made me feel better, as the last light of the day began to disappear over the horizon. "I should start heading home," Nellie said quietly. "It's getting late."
She stood, as did I. "Thank you for all your help today," I said. She had stayed later than usual, had fed the livestock their dinner, and helped wash up after supper without even being asked. "Are you sure it's not too dark? Would you wish to stay here the night?"
Nellie shook her head, "No, I do not wish to burden you. Also, I must return home...they would be worried, they probably are already. I have things to do..."
"I understand," I nodded. "Bid the best to your family."
"I will see you in the morning," Nellie sadly smiled. "Try to get some sleep tonight."
"Thank you," I looked down to my hands.
There was a pause as we just stood. "Everything will turn out fine." she muttered softly. "I know it."
I glanced back up and met her eyes, a single, involuntary tear rolling down my cheek.
I hoped she was right.