From October 14, 2018: Alfred and Simia Go To War

From mlmm Sunday Writing Prompt, Collage 43: “The quote ‘You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.’ Azar Nafisi

The [collage]images:

Delicate pink snail shell with a hole in it on a bed of rocks with tiny blue flowers

Painting of a beautiful woman holding a mirror and admiring herself with 2 servants helping her get ready, one woman is seated, one woman stands to her right, a man hides behind a room divider peeping in, dress on main female green/yellow/white from a time long past

Roller Skates (red with yellow laces, black and white photo)

Female Sim character with pink pigtails, large, silver, spiral hoop earrings, and bold pink makeup

Colorful metal cat”

* * * * *

Time moved at a snail’s pace – how cliché – as we waited on the station platform.

“You are the shape of my heart”, he said. I laughed a Cheshire grin.

“Going to play soldier has made you a poet,” I remarked, turning to watch the station tableaux.

Other men off to war; other sweethearts, patting dry their eyes with handkerchiefs. Dressed in their best finest, hats carefully perched on freshly-coiffed hair, these women both implored their beaus to go and to stay. Tears at the parting; fussing with the collars of stiff wool uniforms, making sure buttons were bright and aligned to urge them on to the front.

“Are you writing me into some medieval romance poem, where I am dressed in richly embroidered velvet and gold-shot brocade, who pines away whilst awaiting the return of her knight? Do I offer you my handkerchief as a love token. A promise of my unyielding love?”

“Simia, we will never be as we are this moment; as soon as the train door shuts, the conductor blows his whistle, and the engine hisses out of the station, I will become a changed man.”

“It was your decision, Alfred, to go serve King and County. Whilst I must stay here rolling bandages and knitting socks. Do you not think it will change me as well?”

My anger at him, the bitterness of being left keeping the home fires burning even though I was a New Woman with career and self-determination. If a nurse, perhaps, I might participate more fully. But not as a typist in the office where Alfred was clerk.

This parting seemed so stiff and proper. That we walked out together meant we must say good bye at the station. But Alfred was just Alfred. Nothing more, nothing less. I would straighten my shirt waist, and return to my desk, typewriter more attuned to my fingers than his heart or body.

I was never pink and frothy; I stood a better chance in the trenches than Alfred. Yes, he longed for the man he was before the train would pull in. And me, I would long for what a woman could not do. Changed too by that moment when I could not board the train, and leave Alfred to keep hearth and home – a job he was much better suited to.

Written for mlmm sunday writing prompt: collage 43 [October 14, 2018] A riff on the images that took my mind to a train station circa 1914. Never know just where my mind will go.