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the waiting after the war

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Walking, I passed the window, streaked with rain, and stone cold. Wooden floors squeaking, above and below. People waiting.

A flash and a clap of thunder, I returned to the window seat. The sycamore blew back and forth, the gentle harmony to an orchestra of drums. One knee on the bench, I leaned out into the rain, and felt the wind whip my face again and again, tiny droplets like ice shards falling in front of my face.

A long dull voice carried from the kitchen window could be heard. My mother was crying again, but I knew that anyway. She was scared, she had every right to be. I heard my sister trying in vain to comfort her, when she too needed that comfort.

I wanted to be with them, to sit at the rugged dining room set, and play families for one last time. Bryony would sit and play with her dollies, ignoring what the rest of us were forced to face. The possibility of losing our father.

Of course we wouldn't know for a while still. But I secretly hoped for more than I could have in reality, ever expected.

After several pulsating seconds, I drew back and little by little ambled to the door, down the stairs, through the arch to the kitchen.

They sat exactly how I imagined, in there rightful seats, with two still vacant, on opposite ends of the table. The big antique looking chair, that for now would remain empty, and a small spindly stall where I took my place.

Nothing was said, and we sat watching the clock, as one we waited for the next long chyme of the clock. Each second brought us a second closer, to the possibility our hope wasn't wasted, but what else could we do?

Before the clock struck seven, we were waiting in candle light. When someone came, a loud unfamiliar knock echoed around the room. We sat for a further few seconds, breathing together.

My mum arose, and walked in her slippers to the porch, she closed the door behind her, and suddenly, we knew.





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