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bloodlines

1918

The couple walked along the length of the platform looking for their carriage.

He was a slim man, dark, with a fine black moustache.

She was small and round faced, a girl, and she grasped his hand as an excited daughter does her trusted uncle.

– and the hand he held wore a ring that he had given that had sealed his promise to her of marriage and faith, and love, and an everlasting companionship.

1918

Sixteen million dead and twenty one million wounded in the great war – men and boys, women and girls.

Sixty two thousand Australian dead.

They sat upright for the eighteen hours it took the train to reach the Emerald City – Sydney. The Pacific City.

A place now quietened of young men, so many gone.

A city of prayer for the young dead, fathers and sons. A home of mourning and sorrow, where victory weeps hardest.

They left the train at Redfern and walked a while in the hot streets looking for a short term lodging – this honeymoon couple, only one bag.

Hers.

1918

He left the bed as she slept, though only mid-afternoon, and he dressed for travel.

– and he shaved his face and shined his footwear, and he slicked back his dark hair and watched in the mirror as the girl awoke and asked him where he was going. Soft she was in their honeymoon bed, watching her husband of two days.

He had taken the ring off her finger as she slept and he held it up – for valuation he said, there is a place I can insure against its loss – then he came to the bed.

He kissed her so gently, and she laid herself back against the cheap pillow, content.

A furrow already to her womb, a creation of life there so soon, a blossoming of life that became my mother.

1918

He never returned.

She stayed three days in the room waiting for him.

A bed.

A chair.

A basin.

A window.

He never returned.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. This is filled with retrospective tenderness and love.

    November 5, 2011

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