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Mary Rose O'Donnell
Alice C. Bateman
Love Under Fire - The War Brides
Hello, Diary. It is now Friday night. One week from tonight will be my last night as a single person, as a girl. One week from tomorrow night, I will become a woman, Theo's wife. This thought makes my heart pound so very much, to think of lying in his arms. The arms of my Husband, the other half of my soul.
But at the same time these thoughts overwhelm me, there is an increasing sense of dread and foreboding within me, something I cannot name, but something that has all but taken me over. I can barely move, I am lethargic, depressed, no energy. A very heavy feeling weighs down my shoulders right now, and I cannot see my way out of it. Because I cannot name this. What you cannot name, you cannot change. I will just have to struggle through to see what I shall see at the end, I guess.
Excuse me a moment, Diary, I hear my Mother's soft knock on my door.
Oh, now my own mother has filled me with such sadness. All these heavy feelings weighing me down right now... the strong yearning for my Theo, this unknown fear that gnaws at me, and now my mother!
She tries to persuade me with logic that I should not marry my Theo and move very far away to his country. Because of course we will eventually go to his country, not Canada.
My mother should understand that when Love truly visits two people, there is no logic left in their private universe. An hour together passes like a moment, a minute apart is a century, an hour almost unendurable. A day --- a millennium. The clock crawls when apart, races like the wind when together.
Now many days without my Theo. Most of the people around me try to give me doubts. Even, sometimes, my own head, but I banish these ugly thoughts as soon as they appear. Like right now, I am so empty without him near me, connected to me in some manner, I can barely function. This pen is very heavy, my hand moves slowly and with difficulty. There have been far too many days this week when I cannot find him anywhere when I seek him, and I write to him, only to feel that I am writing to emptiness, that once the words leave me, they will arrive nowhere.
All the songs we danced to last Saturday night replay endlessly in my head. Through the moaning and the cries of the wounded soldiers, my head plays these songs relentlessly, combining with the clamoring thoughts and worries that even I cannot avoid. For example, do I have the right to have children in a strange country, to be raised away from their own family's roots? Of course, they will be within their Father's world, but mine will cease to be. They will not grow to know the customs and traditions of my home, but of another country, another continent, far away. There will be other traditional celebrations, other traditional foods.
This is not a bad thing, of course, but a big change. I have never even so much as hopped over to the Continent, as so many of my friends have, and now I am contemplating a very long journey over seas that are unfriendly at best right now. I will have to inquire among the soldiers here as to what happens to the women who marry one of them. Are they left here for now, until the war's end? Do they go to the country of their husband right away? No, I can't see that happening..... I will have to get the facts, and settle my mind on at least this issue.
There is just so much I don't know! It's so very frustrating; I need to talk with this man who will so soon be my husband, but we are not allowed this privilege.
And what of moving to Theo's country, Columbia? Will I be accepted there? I have a different colour of skin, after all. Could there be any animosity towards a woman who comes to marry one of their own, or who is already married to one of them? But then, this could happen in any country, regardless of skin colour. Many people are always leery of strangers, of foreigners. I will just have to be myself, and be accepted or not accepted as I am.
I have not had either the time or the mental capacity to do any serious study of the Spanish language, and made no progress towards writing something down to say to Theo in his language at our Wedding. I do not yet have even my Wedding Dress. The veil I will wear needs the veiling part replaced. I feel as if I am already living with Theo in our new home, but this is only on the inside. On the outside there is much to be done.
And outside of my own little world of Theo and me, the war rages on, angrier and nastier than ever. London is being bombed mercilessly, nightly, the drone of the bombers returning from their raids overhead right now as I write. It is very late in the night. I cannot sleep, I can barely eat, I am existing on gallons of tea and coffee, and I feel that I will die if there is no word from Theo soon. I pray that tomorrow's post will bring me a word from my Sweetheart.
Diary, I really don't like feeling like this, torn... torn between love and loyalty to my family and country, and Theo and a new life. And torn to shreds over not being able to find my Love when I seek him anywhere.
Love is an amazing emotion, almost an illness that takes you over completely, changes your entire outlook, your entire life. If someone asked me right now if I am glad to have met my Theo, if I am happy to be In Love, I'm not really sure how I'd answer.
My life was just fine before this man entered it, I had my routines, I could deal with this war on a superficial level almost, it was not too deeply personal... but then my brother was killed, and now I don't know if my Theo is alive or dead. I keep trying to shake off these feelings, but they persist. There is a deep fear inside my soul that Theo is no more. That this great and huge Love will never have the chance to be.
And how can I go back to being just little Mary Rose, everybody's darling, after this experience. I am not her any more, I am a much more complex being, all from the influence and attentions of one man, and the many and diverse paths my life could take from here.
I will come back to you tomorrow night, Diary, and I hope by then my usual sunny self is back with me, not this person who is inhabiting my head right now, with all her worries and doubts and indecisions. Right now, all that was so real between myself and Theo feels like a dream, fading with the morning...
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