The War

About World War two... The people that got left behind.

September, 1939
    He smiled and brushed her hair behind her ear.
    "I'll be back soon. Don't worry."
    "Take care." She wrapped her arms around him.
    "Beck, hurry up!" A man on the truck called. Adrienne looked into Till's eyes.
    "I don't want you to go, it doesn't feel right. What about... You know?" Adrienne asked and slid one of his hands to her stomach, though it was too early to tell she was pregnant.
    "I'll be back before the birth hunny, I promise." Till smiled then kissed her forehead, then picked up his bag, slinging it over one of his shoulders.
    "I love you." Adrienne said, picking up one of his hands again, not wanting to let him go off to war.
    "I'm not going to die. I'll be back before you know it." Till let go of her hand and sprinted to the army truck. He chucked his bag on the back of the truck, and climbed on after it.
    "You're lucky to have someone that cares so much, Till." One of Till's old highschool mates told him. He nodded and looked at his house, wife and unborn child disappear into the distance.
    "I know I am. But hey, I'll be back soon right?" Till said, faking a smile, trying to bring up everyones hopes.
    "Yeah, right. We'll be the lucky ones."
 Six years later, December, 1945.
    Adrienne looked, recognising the sound of the army trucks engine. A smile played on her face and she fixed up her dress and apron, then looked at her 5 year old son, sitting on the floor drawing. He'd ask about his dad everyday since he knew how to talk.
    Then the nervous butterflies started playing in her stomach. What if he didn't make it?
    A strong knock splayed on the door. She took a deep breath in and opened the door. She scanned the faces of the three soldiers standing there, none of them holding the face of her husband. She looked over at her son, her eyes blurring with tears once more at the sight of army uniform.
    "Cadet Beck was killed in service, we are sorry for your loss, madame." The man in the middle announced, obviously the man of higher rank. He turned around and recieved a  flag from one of the men behind him and handed it to Adrienne. The flag held a piece of paper on it, and a parcel.
    "Wh-what is it?" Adrienne asked. Her son pulled on the bottom of her shirt. "Whats wrong, baby?"
    "Who are they?" He whispered.
    "They are... Some of... Daddy's army buddies." Adrienne said, her voice cracking as she tried not to cry in front of her son.
    "One of them is an invitation to recieve Cadet Beck's medals. The other one is an envelope containing Beck's journal and the last letter he wrote to his family. Thank you for your time, Madame." The man bowed and turned on his heel and went back to the army truck.
    "We knew Till pretty well, Mam. He was a good soldier. It was an honor to serve with him. He never stopped talking about his amazing wife, and his child. What's he called? Till never told us." One of the soldiers told Adrienne. She knelt down next to her son.
    "I named him... After... I called him Till Jr. I thought Till would find it silly, but funny at the same time. Now I'll never know. I was going to tell him his sons name when they actually met... But now, now they have no chance. Maybe if Till knew, he would have been more careful, he could still be alive. He... He would be here with me, now." Adrienne cried and sat on the sofa, putting the flag, paper and parcel next to her.
    "Adrienne, Till knew you would name the child well. I went to high school with him, and I've served with him. All the time, he's been passionate about everything he does, but you and Till Jr were his life. He died in the most honorable way possible." The other soldier informed Adrienne.
    "If I may ask, how did he die?"
    "I got shot in the arm. He saw, and came to help. He made a quick fix, wrapping it up tightly. But then enemy managed to sniper him. I dragged his body into the trenches but it was too late. The sniper shot him in the back, Mam. The last thing he said was to tell you and your son that he loved you like he liked nothing else. He died in my arms."
    "Thank you, Christoph, and... Uhm... I'm sorry, I don't know you, but thank you both so much. If you can shut the door on your way out, thanks." Adrienne thanked and held back the tears in her eyes and the lump in her throat.
    "I'm Jespar, I'm sorry we had to meet in the circumstances."
    "I am too, Jespar."
    "I want you to know, Adrienne, if you need someone, I live just down the street. I can help you out if you need it. I owe him my life, but since he isn't here, it can be you that I owe it to." Christoph reminded her, hopefully.
    "Thank you, both, once again." Adrienne said and Christoph and Jespar left, carefully closing the door behind them. Adrienne hugged Till Jr, then looked at the parcel, flag and envelope sitting on the couch. She picked the flag up and wrapped in around her, reminding herself that her young husband died serving his country. She took a quick look at the invitation and placed it on the coffee table next to the couch. She then picked up the parcel and hugged it close to her body. Till Jr was quiet as he watch his mother through the same dark eyes as his father.
    Slowly she pulled the string on the parcel, unwrapping it like it held a curse. Inside the brown paper, there was a leather-bound journal with Till's scrawl on it saying Till Anton Beck, husband of the beautiful Adrienne Beck. She opened the cover, revealing a page of Tills writing.
  September 31st 1939.
War was declared and I am here at base with the rest of the guys. We are all just poor souls dragged away from our familys so we can do justice for our country. What if our family comes before our country? Treason. That's all its put down as. I'd like to be in my nice little house with my beautiful wife. She's only 19, so young. She's also pregnant, by the way. We were so excited to be starting our own family. Then the war began. So here I am, miles away from my family, just as the rest of the guys. I have to put my heart and soul into killing others and protecting my country. I told Adrienne I'd be back before our child is born, but I'm not sure if I will be. War's can last for so long. I might even be one of the unlucky ones, never returning to my family. I worry for my family then. The guys are so excited to go blow some brains out, they don't even think that they'll be killing other humans. It's sick. But that what life is, I suppose. A sick cycle of...

    She couldn't read anymore, her eyes were too blurred with tears. She let it out, she just cried. Her son got up off the floor and wrapped his chubby little arms around her.
    "What happened mummy?"
    "Those men... They came to tell us that Daddy was dead."
    "But why is Daddy dead?"
    "Because, serving your country in its time of need is more important then the lives of the people serving it in the eyes of the government." Adrienne cried and hugged her little boy tightly.
    "Mummy, was Daddy a good man?"
    "Yes, baby, he was too good, thats why he is gone." She slowly let go of Till Jr and he climbed onto the couch next to her.
    Adrienne moved the journal to the side and picked up the envelope.Adrienne, my love. was written on the front. Adrienne turned the envelope over and slipped it open. She pulled the letter out of the envelope.
    November 17th 1945, I think.
    My dearest Wife and child,
    I miss you both with all my heart. Its hard to think you are both getting older without me there to support you. I wish I could be there. The stench of the trenches is wretched. I've almost grown used to it, which is only too sad. There are dead and dying men everywhere, its not a pretty sight. Actually if I hadn't killed so many men, I would want to rip my eyes out and burn them, maybe burn my memory while I do so. I'm a killer now, and all I ever wanted to be was a husband and father.
    Tell my son I'm sorry I've missed out on so much of his life. I would love to be there for him. No child has a father at the moment though. Its tragic.
    My wife, I wish I could see your beautiful face again. I think about the promise I made you years ago, and feel guilty that I broke it. I didn't give you a decent good bye. I didn't think the war would be this long. I barely sleep, hearing gunshots, and screams. I barely eat, we get so few rations its like they are trying to starve us to death.
    I pray for this war to end. I pray to be back home with you. Each time I join the trenches again I breathe and think how nice it would be to wake up in our nice soft bed rather then a bunk and walk out into our sunny kitchen, smelling bacon sizzling and having a real breakfast, not having to walk up into a rotten corpse filled trench.
    Even if I survive this, the nightmare will be burned into my memory, and I fear that I won't get to have a beautiful peaceful sleep like I used to.
    The main point is, I miss you. I miss home. Thats what I want. I hear if I get a bad enough injury they might just send me home, I'm so desperate I might try it soon. I fear I'm going crazy. But I'll be your raving lunatic.
    Lots of Love,
    Till. xoxox

    Adrienne cried. Till Jr leaned his head against his mum.
    "Was it bad?"
    "No, well, the war was. He just wanted to come home and be with us."

The End

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