As you probably know by now I am a complete history nerd, so you won't be surprised by this new story. Anyway I hope you enjoy
War changes everything and everyone around you, there is no choice in the matter. You carry on regardless, you carry on if you have no roof on your house, you keep on going if your family is dead, you damn well try your hardest when there is no money left, no food and no processions.
You have no choice.
I have no choice but to leave this hospital now, my wounds have healed but scratches remain that run too deep for any medicine to cure, too big to tape over with bandages.
There is a bus I'm told waiting for me, to take me off. A house in the country apparently has need for new staff.
New staff, I laugh at that, they don't want new staff at all, they need replacements. There are a lot of people and places that need replacements.
Now that the war is over there are a lot of echoes, a lot of empty spaces.
The pavements bustling around, business as usual.
A smart gentleman tips his navy hat to me as he passes, briefcase in hand. A lady pushes a pram across the street, looking left and right, dodging busses, bikes and cabs, quit an act of daring in the busy London streets.
I have seen this scene many times, from the window of my hospital ward. I would open the top of glass pane and breathe in deeply, savouring the bitter taste of petrol, coal and cooking from the café's. It was all so different from the sterilised white steeliness of the hospital. It didn't seem real to me.
But now standing in the middle of this everything seemed too real.
From the end of the road I spotted the bus, it was quiet small but the mint green stripe around it was hard to miss. A 'Bovril' poster was plastered on its side above the windows.
It stopped in front of me. The door opened with a creek and a moan for oil, a sudden waft of tobacco smoke invaded my nostrils.
I stepped in, heaving my case with me. The cold metal edges tapped against my leg.
The bus driver took of his hat in greeting, showing me a kindly smile on a chubby face. "Good morning love." He said with a round mouth.
I nodded to him and forced what I thought to be a smile.
Walking to the back of the bus I put my case on the rack overhead and sat down, crossed my legs at the ankle and rested my hands over my handbag on my lap.
The seat bounced, the springs dug into my backside with every turn the bus made.
The scenery past me by. I was amazed to see how different it all was, there were no flames or piles of rubble left, of course there were building missing walls and roofs but it all looked horribly polished somehow.
I shook my head and surveyed the bus instead.
There was an elderly lady at the front, knitting needles dancing in her hands.
A young mother and her son sitting next to her sat a few rows in front of me, the boy rambled happily with his hand buried deep in a brown paper bag of sweets.
I noticed her outfit. A smart burgundy skirt suit, angular in the shoulders, a smooth black trim on the lapels. Short black gloves on her hands and gold buttons were regimentally arranged on her cuffs, sticking out into the isle was a neat pair of brown polished shoes with those nice curved heals. On her head was a black hat, round in shape that seemed to cap the side of her head, a longish pheasant feather arched from one side of it to the other.
I looked down at my own outfit. My brown tweed skirt and jacket with leather elbow patches, one black the other brown, my shoes were black, a little cuffed and misshaped at the toe, the heals were chucky blocks. I looked scornfully at my duck egg blue shirt with its small white plastic buttons and scalloped collar.
I suppose this looked fashionable and stylish in 1943, but now it just looked shoddy and plain. Its 1946, the war is over and people are fashionable again.
Deciding not to dwell on this anymore I settled back to looking out of the window and waited for the country side to formulate beyond the glass.
It was getting dark when I finally reached my destination. I don't really know where I am, only that there are no cars and no bustle, no café's or street venders. And no God damn matrons.
The large house in front of me was old. Red bricked and dusty looking. Quilted windows were framed with pristine white.
Lights were on in most of the rooms and the golden hew shone onto the gravel courtyard.
Picking up my case I walked towards the door.
Trepidation kicked my heart. What was I doing?
Gripping the cool door knocker I tapped it twice.
Before I had chance to blink the door opened.
"Hello, you must be Miss Swan." A rather short woman said warmly.
I was taken aback, I expected an old heavily built matron with thick ankles and an unflattering amount of facial hair.
Instead in front of me was a slender woman in her mid-fifties, she wore her grey speckled caramel hair loosely pinned back, she wore no blue nurses dress but a flattering cotton floral printed dress.
"Hello." I said awkwardly.
"Do come in! You must be shattered." She said with more warmth whilst taking my case out of my hand.
"Gosh, you travelled lightly." She said as we walked into the house.
I have nothing else, I wanted to retort but I had been told to be polite to the people in my new home.
The entrance hall was as I expected, neat and clean and quintessentially country.
We made our way to what I assumed was the kitchen.
I sat in a wooden chair at the long oak table as she fluttered around the kitchen gathering things for a cup of tea.
Once it was made she sat opposite me.
"I am so glad you came, when Sister Cope said you needed a place to stay I was more than happy to demand that she send you here. The house is so big now-"
Her chattering faulted for a moment like a cloud over a field where sun once was.
"Well I need help around here anyway, now that the city is back up and running nobody can stand the country." She was definitely a talker.
"Thank you Mrs-"
"Cullen, I'm Mrs Cullen, but you must call me Esme."
"Thank you Esme, but…what sort of job am I do to here?" I asked. The hospital had not told me anything, just packed me up and put me on a bus.
Mrs Cullen laughed heartily.
"They are so silly at that place. I Just need help with the house work…" she cut herself off again, uncertainty in her voice.
She shifted uncomfortably in her chair, the crisp cotton of her dress rustled in the silent kitchen.
"I also need help with my son." She said quickly.
Oh so I was to be a nanny then. She didn't seem too old to be a mother of a small child or young teen.
I nodded my head. I could do this, I had a younger brother, I know what to do.
The clock in the corner of the room chimed.
"Oh would you look at the time!" she exclaimed surprised.
The chimes told me it was nine o'clock.
Mrs Cullen tidied away the crockery onto a tray and placed it beside the sink.
"Now we really must get you to bed." She said with a soft stern voice.
I followed her up the stairs; they were old and creaked but were without a speck of dust.
We passed closed doors, the pace picked up past one with just a smidge of light that escaped beneath it. I didn't ask questions, I was too tired.
Finally we reached mine.
It was small, modest like the rest of the house, but it was better than anything I have ever slept in. in was an amazing improvement from the hospital ward.
"Good night." She said in a hushed ton and placed my case on the end of my bed.
I changed, brushed my hair and laid out my clothes for tomorrow.
In a half unconscious state I crawled into the cool inviting crisp cotton sheets.
I sighed a sigh of relief and closed my eyes.
"Good night Edward." I heard her whisper softly.
There was no reply.
I drifted off to sleep.
Hope you enjoyed it. More soon.