The Impossible Art Of Soldiering On #microcosms #flashfiction

The Impossible Art Of Soldiering On

Geraldine ran a finger round the stiff collar. The VAD uniform wasn’t made for comfort. She felt eyes on her and glanced at number fourteen. Mrs Ephram shuffled out of her door; she nodded as she realised Geraldine was looking. ‘First day?’

Geraldine lowered her gaze out of respect. Their Harry had taken a bullet at Ypres. ‘Yes, Mrs Ephram.’

‘Good.’ She patted her arm as she shuffled last.

Geraldine watched her go, physically broken but keeping on. How did she do it? She moved to one side, to avoid the horse droppings from the baker’s cart. She didn’t want to have the staff nurse on her case on her first day. She didn’t think she could bear that.

Young Martin appeared, peddling furiously up the rise. She waited, ready to tease him. Before he reached her he had his hand in his pocket and pulled out a telegram. ‘It’s alright Geraldine. It’s good.’

Martin was a sweet boy with ears like sails and teeth like granite chips. ‘Go on.’

She opened it and read it slowly. ‘Private Arnold Summers has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry on the field of battle.’ Her Arnie.

A cough made her turn. Cousin Peter. ‘Arnold’s Ma’s ‘ad a turn.’

She ran behind him, the speed and her uniform stopping her asking what was up, while she clutched the telegram. They were shown in the Forman’s office. Mrs Summers sat, gripping a hanky and a telegram. She held it out to Geraldine. ‘I know Ma.’

Puzzlement filled her face, confusing Geraldine who read the second telegram. ‘We regret to inform you of the death of Pte Arnold Summers from his injuries sustained…’

Geraldine met her mother in law’s gaze. They would get through this, like Mrs Ephram and so many more. 

This week’s #microcosms prompt has a WW1 theme to it with the three prompts: wife, street and tragedy. 

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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16 Responses to The Impossible Art Of Soldiering On #microcosms #flashfiction

  1. So sad, and no doubt this happened to so many families. Well told Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Ears like sails”–always love how your humor comes through even in the sadness. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s just the right amount of humour mixed into the immediacy and pathos of this piece – man you are hitting your stride! So good!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Yes well done Geoff I have heard of this happening, I have heard of insidents when both telegrams arrived together.
    You do tell it so well and even thriw in some humour.💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ritu says:

    Such inevitable sadness😢

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charli Mills says:

    I’m rocked by the emotional power of fiction to give us that dreadful experience your family, and so many others had. The details and emotional tone are spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Appropriately compassionate

    Liked by 1 person

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