Friday, May 9, 2014

War time Love

She opened her eyes after a long journey. She had fallen asleep 4 hours ago due to travel sickness and tears. She knew this was a big decision that she had taken. Her parents and all her siblings had already left Paris. But, she was coming back to Paris. She had promised herself that this would be her last attempt to save the relationship. War was the obstacle.  But he was more important to her than anything else. She had made a decision of visiting him despite the issues. She wanted him in her life at any cost.

She reached the railway station in the morning. then to the hotel. She wore his favorite winter jacket and his favorite perfume in the evening. It was a very cold day in the month of April in 1940 in Paris, so she wore the wool gloves and put the scarf on her neck. She dressed up just as the way he liked her. 'One last time' she thought. She got this tough decision not even considering her life. She left to meet him. 
She called him by a telephone booth. He answered. They decided to meet  in a Café. She spotted him on her way to the café. They met. No hugs, no kisses..Just a plain 'Hello' with a broken smile. They walked together. The beauty of every moment they spent together had disappeared. She had asked the coffee shop waiter to reserve their favorite coffee table for them and had pre-ordered their favorites. The aroma of hot steaming black coffee was in the air. Their eyes met for the first time after many months. She had the same sparkle in her eyes. Sadly, he seemed distant. They spoke about him - Army, friends, Soccer, German invasion and life. He did not inquire about her. She felt the distance. He was about to leave but she wanted to extend the date. She asked him for a walk. He nodded “Yes”.
They went to the city park. He seemed lost. She got the hint. They saw lots of people say good bye to each other. Lot of men were in army uniforms. Most of the ladies were hugging their loved ones and crying leaning on to their shoulders. There were some foreign couples too. They were talking to each other in a rush. She did not understand the languages. He took all the pains to translate to her. She felt the closeness. She held his hand. She was shattered. Her heart was broken into a million pieces. They went to a bench and sat on it. She didn’t want to pass this time. She wanted to stop the world right there forever. Then war would  never come and she was able to stay wrapped in his arms forever.
It was almost around 6.00 PM. He asked her for a dinner. She was delighted.  They went to their favorite restaurant in Paris. They placed the same order as they always did accompanied by “Chateau Latour” wine. He didn’t want to say anything rather than eating. On the background  “Edi Piaf’s Sous le ciel de Paris” was playing. He looked in to her eyes and tried to say something.
“You know this is not going to work out. You should have thought about this before traveling so far to visit me." Look my darling, war is just going to happen. Here is not safe for a girl like you”.

“I love you…more than my life… why don’t you come with me?”
“I know and I love you too. But it is my duty to stay here when the war begins”

“You will die, I can’t hold my breath anymore, oh god please help me” she cried like a child. Her heart broke.

All he said was, "This may be the last time we meet." He did this for her. He did this because he knew she would suffer the most if this relationship continued. But he had no alternative than breaking up with her.
She cried and cried like Seine.

He knew he would loose a big piece of his heart that day. He knew she would make his life more beautiful. But he had no choice. War was going to ruin everyone’s life in the world. Then, they left the restaurant. He volunteered to drop her at the railway station after the dinner. It was a long walk.

While they walk she leaned on to his body as much as she could. It was late at night and the roads were empty. Night was so freezing. Number of policemen were going here and there almost everywhere in Paris. The road was lit by the street-lamp alone. She wanted life to stop there. She held him tight at once and cried. Then she felt this would be their last walk together.

They reached the railway station. Everything had gone well but she knew this was not enough to stay with him. She stood quiet and waited for him to speak.

He spoke.
“I don’t know whether I survive in the war or not, but I want you to survive. That’s why I asked you to move away from Paris.”

“But…I don’t want to live without you, my love”
He didn’t speak anything but hugged her for one last time and kissed her trembling lips. Then she walked to the train with a heavy head. Train was full packed for leaving. She got in to the train and disappeared in the crowd. 

He was there, until the train blew the shrieking last whistle for the departure.

By Manu Fernando

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