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Mary Rose O'Donnell


Alice C. Bateman


Love Under Fire, The War Brides

Are you still here

Can you still see me

Or am I alone here

And speak to myself?


Are you my mirror

The image of me

And that is why you can

Feel all that I see?


The Language of Love

Is the tongue of the Heart

And mine speaks to you

That we never will part


For I am your Lady

And You are my King

Together, for always

To see what life brings


Hello, my Diary, are you surprised? This is the first poem I have ever written. Last night, after signing off from you, I took care of bodily essentials, and looked quickly into my handheld mirror for a moment.

The eyes that flashed back at me were not my own. They were his, Theo's. Yes, Theo, short for Theodore. My Sweetheart is much too special and sweet for the short and abrupt name of 'Ted.' I think of him always as Theo now.

Yes, I swore I could see his brown velvet eyes in the mirror, with the golden flecks. Such as the sacred stone known as Goldstone transforms, so do Theo's eyes when they look at me. They are no longer brown, they are golden, more and more tiny lights appear, as with the Goldstone, until the brown field is crowded with so many sparkling lights that it almost disappears.

I can feel his love for me, I can smell it, I can taste it. And my love for him makes me weak at the knees, sometimes at the most awkward moments...

My Love, Love with a capital letter, LOVE in full capital letters.

He is all I can think of, my last thought before sleep, my first thought when I wake up, and filling my sleep with sweet dreams in between. Such sweet dreams.

Last night, I caught only a fleeting glimpse of his beautiful, café au lait skin, his fingers against the snow white flesh of my thigh. Extremely tantalizing, but that is all I remember. I told Theo of this in the mirror this morning, and I saw the sudden flash of his dazzling smile, his beautiful white teeth.

I Love him so very much.

Theo's family is from Columbia, not Canada at all, and Theo volunteered for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. I was mistaken in assuming that he is Canadian by birth, because he wears the Canadian Uniform.

Theo explained this more thoroughly at dinner last night. This explains his gentleness, his courtliness of manner, his sweet demeanour. And also his lovely Spanish accent, and the words of love and beauty he whispers in my ear in his native tongue.

I have learned that 'Love' = Amor, 'my' = mi, 'and' = y, 'God' = Dios, God With God = Vaya con Dios, 'o' ending is male, 'a' ending is female, as Esposo = Husband, Esposa = Wife.

I will seek among the soldiers and Red Cross personnel for Spanish words to surprise my Darling on our so very far away and yet so close Wedding Day. To tell him in his own language and mine, just how very much I Love him, how every fibre of my body and soul craves to be with him, every moment, waking and sleeping.

But now there is this stupid, insane war to fight, orchestrated by a mad man, and being allowed to continue because the most powerful of the allied nations prefers to deal arms and make money then to take a stand.

Yes, I am only a girl, but I listen to what goes on in this world, and I certainly do not like a lot of what I hear.

While they remain uninvolved, and grow fat from the spoils of war, countless tens of thousands of young men suffer horribly or die. The ones who die quickly on the fields of battle are considered the lucky ones.

Yes, some of the wounded do or will recover, but many will not, they will need care for the rest of their lives. And these are not grizzled and battle-weary men who are falling, this is our future, these are the cream of our youth, that are dying like flies all around us.

These are our little brothers, who only yesterday we teased unmercifully for falling off their bikes, again. The sons that we became angry with for tracking mud on our clean floors, again.

Dead. Dead and dying and hurt beyond repair. A hurting generation, generations, whose pain no one will understand, because they will not experience these years. These sights, these horrible sounds, these smells - fear, sweat, blood, urine, feces.... Tea, perfume, cologne, ether, morphine ----- Death.

Today, at two thirty-three p.m., a young man died right beneath my hands. I felt his heart stop. Mine almost stopped as well.

Young Thomas, barely seventeen, weakly signalled to me, and as I reached his stretcher, he clasped my right hand to his chest, closed his eyes, and stopped.

Just stopped, like an old watch, when it stops ticking.

But you can't rewind a boy, a brother, a son. You can't give it a little shake and make it tick again. Humans are much more fragile than the most delicate watch.

I grow tired. Theo cautions me to take care of myself and get good rest, but God drives me, and He doesn't rest very often Himself.

Good night, Diary.

Chapter Three

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