by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith
Her husband was coming home today, and joy mingled with apprehension in her thoughts. His letter, written on the hospital ward, had not been out of arm's reach since it had arrived - she must have read it over a hundred times by now, almost not daring to believe that it was true. The war was over for him: a leg cut off at the knee had seen to that.
Tomorrow, they would be celebrating his return with his parents and younger brother, but tonight she would have him all to herself. She smiled at the thought of the meal she was going to prepare, and at the way she had procured the ingredients; none of them had resulted in a stamp in her ration book. She couldn't very well feed the returning soldier powdered eggs: they would be having pheasant, and she had even got chocolate for dessert.
The chocolate had been the easiest; she had Lizzie to thank for that.
"The things I do for you", her friend had said, handing her the large bar of chocolate. There were American soldiers stationed at the village, and if anyone knew how to coax a handsome GI into giving her food, it was Lizzie.
"I even promised I'd see him tonight as well, so he wouldn't suspect I was using him for chocolate", Lizzie had continued, with a wink. A tart with a heart, her husband called her friend, and she hugged herself as an image of his smiling face flickered in her mind.
The pheasant had been trickier, and she had had to sell Great Aunt Meryl's brooch in order to buy it, which made her a little sad - but she reminded herself that Great Aunt Meryl had been a rather large woman and would probably have approved of her doing this.
Meeting with the poacher to arrange procurement of the bird had proved to be a little adventure in itself. She smiled as she remembered how nervous but also excited she had been, taking a deep breath before entering the insalubrious pub the man was known to frequent. It was not the sort of place a girl like her should ever be seen to visit, and her mother would have been furious had she known, which made her relish the memory all the more. Her husband would find it amusing, and she couldn't wait to tell him. His train would be coming in soon - it was time to walk to the station.
When she saw him get off the train, a little unsteady on his crutches, it took her all of an instant to decide that the leg he had left behind in the Ardennes was of no consequence. Though I might have missed an arm, she thought, as his crutches tumbled onto the platform and he hugged her almost tight enough to crush her.
At dinner, after she had put the plated food on the table, she sat down and found she wasn't hungry after all. He looked up from his steaming plate to see her staring at him.
"Are you eating me with your eyes?" he asked, with the raised eyebrow that had been instrumental in his courtship of her.
"Yes", she said, returning his smile, "that's exactly what I'm doing".
Not sure slice of life is my thing at all - I'm feeling decidedly "meh" about this piece. I've been preoccupied with prepping for a job interview these last few days and this was all that came to me (amputations and job interviews go hand in hand, of course). Still, normal service will resume: I'll be back on Christmas Day with some death, and maybe some aliens for New Years Day
5 days ago