All the unpleasant memories melted away as I held his arm.
In sad tones, the cab driver told us about his recently failed marriage, and he wished us luck saying that we looked like we had what it takes.
For the first time, I wondered what that meant — for us.
He came back to me, and I should be glad, but within a few weeks, we had settled into a semi-civilian life, and it was almost as though the whole nightmare never happened.
His greatcoat smells of cleaning fluid, and I huddle in close beside him as he works out how to get to our apartment. There are stairs on both sides of the exterior of the building, and he wants to pick the right one. That’s the William I remember.
The rain has stopped, it’s cold, and everything we own is crammed into these few bags.
William has his Army pay, and there is a good job waiting for him when he’s demobbed. There is a good chance I will get to hold onto my job because the man who held my position before the war was killed. I feel bad for him and his family but happy for me. They still might decide to give my job to a returned soldier; I’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve enjoyed the freedom that employment brings. All the years William was away, I was responsible for myself. Living with his sister was hard and as soon as her husband returned I was given my marching orders — good enough to keep her company while he was away, but not good enough to have somewhere to stay while we readjust to civilian life. I try not to make too much of it around William.
The apartment is in the upmarket part of town; very old buildings, well established and you can almost smell money in the air.
I’m looking forward to spending time in the park at the end of the street when the weather improves.
Truth be told, I would have lived anywhere with William, I’m not proud, but he wanted the best. Someone he served with put him on to it, and I know we are going to be happy.
Not surprisingly, William is not the same man I married, but we’ll be fine.
He put his life on the line, ‘for king and country’ and I’m going to bring all the courage I discovered in myself to make a life for us both.
As the cab driver moves off down our quiet little street with the park at the end, my William decides which staircase to use. We pick up our bags and our life together is somewhere inside that building — what could possibly go wrong.