there was a trail of notes, one note for every address she had been forced to leave behind.
the note for every new address was also soon lost, or maybe thrown away, right after she left her latest makeshift shelter behind, some place or another, where she had been a temporary guest, welcome to rest there, but only for a few days, maybe a week, or even the odd month, during her constant hunt for the next shelter, no longer hoping, nor praying for peace, as it would be the most futile of acts.
she feared he would never find her, in that place that no longer was what it had been, now the shadow of a shell-shocked city, filled with living ghosts who no longer feared death, ghosts who had no tears left to cry; they might have prayed for mercy, but more often than not, they probably prayed for the kind of mercy that turns people into angels; they prayed for their loved ones to die, so that they would not feel the pain anymore, where they laid hurt on some faraway battlefield, or were shot down, screaming while turning into charcoal bodies, on the way down, falling from the bluest of skies.
she could not imagine the worst; neither could she hope for the best.
she saved every odd telegram that reached her, but did not dare to hope.
but he made it home.
one of the very few.
and he found her number.
then he rang her.
a mother’s silence, as she picks up the phone, expecting the worst.
“hello,” he said. “is that you, mama?
a mother’s silence, as she hears the voice she thought was forever lost.
the voice of a soul – or a living dead?
a mother’s silence, as she cannot fathom that her son, is alive.
if not well.
but her Roald was alive. and he lived to tell about how he became a fighter pilot, the one who returned, from every one of his flights, until he was discharged, free to go home, wherever it may be; thus, being one of the few young men who barely survived the meaningless, brutal and utterly senseless second world war, just as meaningless as any war is, whether past or current.
read Roald Dahl’s War, so that you may never forget how horrific any war has ever been, and still is; at first sight, this little book might appear to be nothing more than a fairly entertaining memoir, of a young man’s adventures abroad, and as such, a light read. it is not.
Anita B Krišto © 2022
Inspired by #15