Quiet Dignity

Summary: In her time of grief, Gina is able to find tremendous strength and show quiet dignity. "Take My Hand" inspired this very short Homefront story.

Disclaimer: Homefront characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made.

Author: Tracy Diane Miller

She could remember so many nights during the war when her belly roared with hunger and then defiantly protested at the spoiled rations salvaged from garbage cans or the streets, food dressed in the stench of filth. More often than not, her belly violently expelled its contents, the sparse and dismal meal rarely found its sanctuary in her stomach. Hunger became her constant companion.

She could remember hearing the sounds of heavy artillery and witnessing the sights and smells of death around her as once proud soldiers succumbed to enemy gunfire.

She could feel the sting and humiliation as the Nazis branded numbers into her skin and forced her and other Jews to live (and die) in concentration camps.

Finally, she could remember hearing the sweet echoes of liberation as she was freed from this hell. She could see his smile and hear his voice whispering in her ears. When he told her that he loved her and promised her a life together, she believed him. And when they made love, she trembled at his touch. The trembling wasn't the trembling of fear that she knew during her incarceration at the hands of those cowards and masters of hate; no, this trembling was from the joy of being in the arms of the man that she loved. For the first time in her life, she felt completely happy, protected, and safe. She remembered the night that she confirmed to Mike that they were having a baby. His face lit up brighter than any star she had ever seen. The war had taken away her family, but in a strange way (because of Mike and their child), the war had given her a family.

And in a blink of an eye, her husband was dead. Mike had survived the war, but had died when his transport crashed. The new Mrs. Sloan arrived in America and the small cul-de-sac River Run community and quickly discovered that she was very much alone. Language and cultural differences weren't the only barrier Gina faced in her new
home; Gina realized that she was as much an outsider, the "enemy" amongst her late husband's family and friends, as she had been in Europe.

She tried to develop a warm relationship with her new in-laws and prayed that the baby would make them as happy as it had made her. This baby, Mike's baby, was the last gift that he had given all of them. But as hard as she tried, Gina could tell that the Sloans didn't want her in their lives.

She had met Linda Metcalf. Linda had been very kind to her, but their relationship was strained by circumstances. Gina learned that Linda had loved Mike, yet it was she who Mike had chosen to marry. Looking into the eyes of the woman who also loved her husband, Gina questioned why Mike had chosen her instead of Linda. When she and Linda left the funeral home, an awkward silence and their grief filled the night air as they walked through the streets of River Run.

The American flag covered Mike's casket. With perfect precision, the soldiers carefully and methodically folded the flag. Before Hank could present this symbol to Ruth Sloan, Gina quickly intercepted the flag. Fighting back her tears, her heart heavy with grief and loss and clutching the model airplane that had been given to her by Robert
Davis (and had been made by Mike), Gina slowly walked from the cemetery carried by strength and a quiet dignity.