On My Way
© 2012 L.A.Parker
I'm a southern man. I mind my manners with the same amount of care that I use to mind my guns. I have my own ideals on right and wrong, and I worship God like a good Christian.
But the lines between good and evil have become blurred.
I don't know what to make of my life anymore, and I don't think that I was ever worth much to begin with. What I can tell you is that Elizabeth saved my life.
I haven't seen her since I was shipped out last year, but she writes to me. She tells me all about her days, however mediocre, in hopes of bringing me a little bit of home. But it doesn't matter now, because I'm already on my way.
I'm on my way back from all of the death and those damn Nazis. No more communists or fascists, no more Hitler, or death camps or Jews or starvation.
I'm on my way back from blackened feet and bread. Back home to my Elizabeth, my Liz.
I've been on this ship for a few days already but I didn't bother to tell her. I want to surprise her, to tell her how she saved my life.
Her letters kept me alive. They kept me sane, kept me in love, and gave me hope.
Elizabeth is like sunlight to me. Like bright rays streaming into my darkened, bullet-filled hell where I had to hide in holes and ditches. With shells raining down on me, I've lost count of the times I've looked at her picture, wondering if I would come home to see her, to hear her laugh.
I don't know if it was six months ago or a few weeks ago, but I was in some serious trouble. One of the guys in my unit was on patrol, and he ran into some of those Nazis bastards. Rogue. I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they snuck up behind him. I don't know what they were yelling but they had a grenade.
You see when you're in a war, it doesn't matter who you're fighting or where they're from. All that matters is the weapons they got. What guns they use to shoot at you, or what shells they drop on you, that's what matters. Doesn't matter to them if you're a college kid or their long lost cousin, they only care about what guns you got.
And we got guns. And grenades and shells and bread that wasn't as moldy as theirs. They don't care if you got a girl waiting back home for you, they only care about their own girls waiting back home for them.
...One of those guys tossed the grenade at Sam. Poor guy didn't duck in time.
But I wasn't far enough away and went deaf in my left ear for a week. It was really pretty terrible considering I was still on duty.
Anyway, I shot the guys that did it later and that was the only time I shot in cold blood.
I still can't shake the look on that Nazi's face when I held a gun to his head. That was when I started to really lose it. I started seeing all sorts of things at night, whenever I closed my eyes I saw them. But Elizabeth kept writing to me, even when she hadn't heard from me in a few months. She kept writing, trying to cheer me up or was hoping for some sort of an answer maybe. I don't know but I read every single letter. I even carried them on me on the field. I didn't want to let her go.
But I'm on my way home now, back to Elizabeth, I haven't told her but I plan to surprise her at school.
She's working on her teaching degree at the University of South Carolina. She's really smart.
Not me though, Elizabeth is always going on about books, books I've never read but she always has something to say about them. She makes the stories sound so real.
I wish I was more like her: smart, funny, kind hearted...
I can't tell her what I've done in Europe and I can't have her knowing what happened to our friends...she's too good to know what people are capable of.
Now that I'm on my way to see her I don't care about the war. I don't care about Nazis or communists or fascists, or snow covered bodies. Once the war ended and I got my orders to come home, I went and bought a ring from a little shop in France. And now the ship is pulling into the harbor.
The ship pulled into the harbor at 12:00 p.m. I know because I've been checkin' my watch every two minutes. All I had on me was a small pack that had most of my equipment, a couple underwears, T-shirts, and Elizabeth's letters. Every single one of them.
I wasn't sure what I was going to say to her but ever since I got to Europe all I thought about was coming home to Elizabeth.
I checked my watch again before gettin' onto a Greyhound. The University was nearby but I wasn't in the mood to walk it.
The bus rolled up and some of the people clapped when I got on. I don't know why they were clapping though. I smiled and sat near the front so I wouldn't have to look at anyone. The bus driver didn't even let me pay.
People keep saying 'Thank you for your service,' but I don't feel like I've done anything important. I just keep trying to forget about everything I've seen. I wish they'd stop saying thank you.
The bus was slow but I was pretty happy about it. It gave me time to think of what to say to Elizabeth. Now I'm not much of a romantic but I know what I feel for her and how I want to make her happy. But how do I tell her all of that?
Too soon the bus rolled up to the curb of the campus. I got off, and people clapped again, a couple of men patted me on the back and I smiled and shook some hands. They act like they met some hero, but I don't feel like one.
I feel like a broken man looking for a way home, a way back from some nightmare, or hell itself. I don't know if I'll ever be the same again but I want to be something of a man for Elizabeth.
I walked around for a bit not sure where to find her classroom before I finally asked a couple of kids I passed by. They told me where I could find the English classes.
I checked my watch again, I was pretty sure that she was still in the lecture hall so I just decided to wait outside the door. I opened my pack and pulled out one of the letters she had sent a while back. It was the only one where she had mentioned a room number, and I wanted to be sure I was at the right one. I was.
It was almost time for the lecture to finish. I could tell because I could hear the professor wrapping up the lesson. I pulled the ring outta my pocket...my hands were sweaty.
For a second I thought about going back to the base and asking them to ship me back to Europe.
The sound of papers and chairs moving echoed from the room on the other side of the wooden door and I thought about walking away before it opened and Elizabeth saw me. What if she didn't want to see me again? What if she didn't want the man that came home? I certainly was the same man that left.
My mouth felt dry and I tried to swallow a couple of times to make sure I could speak. The door opened.
A bunch of kids started leaving the classroom talking loudly and laughing, a few of them looked at me and smiled. I was fidgeting and probably looked pretty stupid in my uniform, with a pack and sweating.
Before I decided to run for it and come up with a better plan (one that involved some flowers at least) Elizabeth walked out of the classroom.
She was beautiful, red hair pinned up and in a perm. She was wearing a green sun dress and carried some books in her hands. She hadn't seen me yet but she was smiling and talking to a girl friend. She smiled so beautifully. She moved her gaze and passed over me, before looking back. Elizabeth stopped walking.
I smiled and wished I brought her flowers, or at least wasn't so sweaty. I put my pack on the floor. She just stood there staring at me with those big green eyes. They looked even greener because of her dress. My fist tightened around the ring. I couldn't move and just stood there smiling like a big, sweaty square.
"Andrew?" asked Elizabeth, she just kept looking at me.
"Hiya Liz," why did she have to look so pretty?
"Andrew!" Elizabeth dropped her books and ran at me. She was a little thing but she threw her arms around me with such force I stumbled a bit.
"Oh Andrew you don't know how much I've missed you! Are you hurt anywhere have you eaten, did you sleep enough? Oh Andrew I was beginning to think something happened to you!" Elizabeth leaned up on her toes and started kissing me. Her lips were so soft that I didn't care about Nazis anymore. I kissed her and kissed her and for a minute I almost forgot about the ring.
I pushed her back very gently and kissed her lightly again.
"Andrew what-?" she started but I didn't let her finish. She stared at me wide eyed as I got down on one knee. "Oh my God," she said quietly.
"Elizabeth...Liz darling...marry me." My throat felt thick and I was worried that she might not want to. I held the ring up and she gasped. Several people standing around started whispering excited like.
She just stared at me and I felt my hands get even sweatier.
"Yes!" She held her hand out for me and I fumbled a bit trying to get it on her pretty hand...she said yes....
I didn't even bother to wait and see if she had anything else to say before I started kissing her like the love sick fool I felt like. I didn't care if people stared or clapped or laughed. My Elizabeth said yes and she was wearing a ring I bought for her.
I didn't care if all of Europe blew up or if the fascists had more plans, I was with Elizabeth, back home, away from everything that kept me away from her.
We're getting married and I'm home, and I know that if I have Elizabeth by my side, I'll be on my way back to the man I used to be.
I DO NOT GIVE PERMISSION FOR THE COPY, STEALING, OR DISTRIBUTION OF MY WORK. THIS PIECE IS WRITTEN AND OWNED BY LAUREN PARKER, KIKO-CHAN13, LAPARKER13, AND LAPARKER. YOU DO NOT HAVE AUTHORIZATION TO USE MY WORK WITHOUT MY PERMISSION UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, NO EXCEPTIONS! ANY UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS WORK FOR PROFIT OR DISTRIBUTION IS NOT PERMISSIBLE. ANY PARTY OTHER THAN THE AUTHOR OF THIS ORIGINAL WORK DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO EDIT, CHANGE, OR REPOST (by a party other than the author without full credit given to the original author) THIS WORK USING ANY TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY, COMPUTER, MOBILE DEVICE, TELEVISION, OTHER SHARING DEVICE, RECORDING DEVICE, FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES, OR HARD COPIES. DO NOT USE WITHOUT EXPRESS CONSENT OF THE AUTHOR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. BY READING THIS WORK YOU HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THE CREATIVE RIGHTS, AND INTELLECTUAL OWNERSHIP OF THIS PIECE BY THE AUTHOR LAUREN PARKER, KIKO-CHAN13, LAPARKER13, and LAPARKER.