Hello, today I am sharing one of my short stories with you. As you may or may not know, as well as blogging about books, I write them. I write both novels and short stories. Never Should Have Let You Go is one of my shortest stories and is inspired by a Simple Plan song of the same name, I have embedded the video above so can listen to it if you wish whilst reading the story. This video originally was going to be part of an anthology I was writing but the idea has since been scrapped as I have been busy working on my novel, but if you would like to see an anthology or just more short stories from me, then let me know – most of my hard drive is taken up with stories I have written.
Never should have let you go.
The walls were mottled with damp, the tap dripped and the windows rattled every time a train came by, but it was perfect. It was ours, we’d spend hours cuddled together for warmth during cold winter nights or we would be slow dancing on warm summer days all whilst listening to our wireless. She always looked beautiful with a big smile across her face.
It was perfect.
We were perfect.
But everything perfect comes to an end.
We were pulled apart by one man’s need for power. One man’s need for dominance ruined everything we had. I was torn away from my love. My hair was shaven and gone where my suits in exchange for army camouflage. I was sent to work in a military hospital in France leaving her behind in England. She cried when I left, she held onto me for as long as possible, and she gave me one last kiss before I boarded my train. That one last kiss was sweet, loving but it was also painful. It was the not knowing. Would I be coming back to her? Would I be the same when I returned? The last I saw of her she was rubbing the gold cross on her neck between her thumb and forefinger as she cried. The further away I got from the station, the paler her pink summer dress became but the image has never paled from my memory.
Sure there were letters, but they don’t make up for the void made by leaving her behind. Sure the other men were in a similar situation to me, but many of them had pictures of their loved ones. All I had was the memory of her crying and there is no comfort from a memory at night when it gets difficult. Seeing her crying didn’t help how I was feeling, it made me feel worse.
I remember when we found out the blitz had started in London. It was the same time her letters stopped. I feared the worst. Her letters just stopped with no warning, nothing in any of the letters she sent said that she had found someone else who wouldn’t leave her. As far as I knew she was one of the many who had perished in the blitz, but she could have escaped to the countryside. There are so many ‘what ifs’ in my mind about what happened to her. I never heard from her again. I never saw her again. The only thing I had left of my Edith was the image of her crying at the train station as I got further away from her. I don’t know what was more painful, the possibility that she had died whilst I was sent to France or the possibility she had found someone else and couldn’t bring herself to tell me.
War was almost 70 years go. It has been over 70 years since I last saw my Edith. I returned to the tiny apartment we had shared. It was destroyed in the blitz, our belongings were mixed amongst the rubble of the apartment. Everything was gone. Everything the apartment was, everything we were was gone in an instance. The pink summer dress she had been wearing was buried under the rubble, the last memory of Edith was buried in the remains of our home.
I did whatever I could to find her but no one knew where she had gone. Her best friend Rose didn’t know where she was or what had happened to her. I married Rose months after I returned and we had four children, three sons and a daughter. She knew that I still pined after Edith but she never said anything, she just accepted it and it was something that pained me. She settled for the fact I would never love her as much as Edith. Rose passed away two years ago. It was painful seeing her slip away but there was a comfort knowing she was in peace and I wasn’t alone like I was years ago. I had my family to care for me.
Our daughter only had one daughter as well in fact she’s getting married. Her father passed away when she was a child. She’s asked me to walk her down the aisle and it has made me all nostalgic. I never got to see my Edith walk down the aisle and my granddaughter reminds me of Edith, with her big blue eyes and wavy blonde hair but then again Rose and Edith looked like sisters so I can see where the resemblance comes from.
“Darling? Is that you?” I called as the front door opened.
I made my way into the hallway and there she stood.
She was older, but she still looked the same in a summer dress. This time, it was blue. She was rubbing the gold cross she wore around her neck between her thumb and forefinger. Her blonde hair had faded to white and it was tied back at the nape of her neck.
“George? George is it really you?” she asked as she stared at me.
“Edith?” I asked
I felt like my heart was about to jump out of my chest as I looked at her. She was still as beautiful as the day I left for war. She was my Edith, my beautiful Edith. I had missed her every single second that I was gone and I missed her still every single since I returned and she was gone.
The door opened again and in slipped my granddaughter and her fiancé stepped inside. They were as happy as they always were; he made her happier than anyone else could. She had found her Edith.
“Granddad, this is Henry’s grandmother. This is Edith, she’s a widow as well. She only lives a couple streets away and we thought you two might like to get to know each other and become friends.” She smiled.
“We wouldn’t want you two to become lonely when we move away. We thought you two will get along really well, he dislikes David Cameron too. We want to make sure you are ok before we move. Granny, this is Eleanor’s granddad. This is George.” He smiled.
“Darling, I think George and I will get on better you will ever know.” Smiled Edith.
I just smiled as I looked at her. She extended her hand for me to shake. As we shook hands, I made myself one promise.
I’m never letting her go again.