Hazel observed her husband's expression from across the breakfast table. James was exhausted, and depressed, and probably slightly shell-shocked. His skin – so pale, devoid of it's healthy pink pigment, and drained of all colour – had taken on an alarmingly grey hew of late, and his forehead seemed permanently soaked in a thin film of glistening perspiration.
She looked deep into his dark eyes – once alight with a youthful enthusiasm for life, but now sunken, and dead. What horrors of war he must have witnessed. She'd heard such horror stories of men driven mad by the terrors of this war - men left broken, a shell of their old selves by the guns, the bombs, the stench of death all around – and she wondered if her husband was going the same way. Looking at him now he looked as though he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. He looked tired, and old beyond his years.
She wanted so much to share in his pain, bare half the burden… if only he'd open up to her – but she knew in her heart that he couldn't. He wouldn't. Whether he was trying to spare her or was clinging onto what little shred of male pride he had left, she didn't know. But he was a broken shell of the man he'd once been, and Hazel wondered just how much more her husband could take before he too became another casualty of this wretched war.