Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Letters (Part Thirteen)

(Letters is my series exploring a war-
time relationship across the miles.
Find the beginning here.)

Dear Mrs. Freeman,

It is my duty and honor to inform you that your husband, Lt. Patrick Freeman, has secured passage on the USAHS Blanche F. Sigman, a Trans-Atlantic hospital ship sailing for Charleston. From there, he will be transported by Army hospital train to Cincinnati, and onto Athens.

Lt. Freeman wished to notify you of the journey himself, but there was a last minute reshuffling of patients here. We are desperate for ward beds, and your husband is better off than most of the boys from the field. The transport medic roused him at dawn this morning, gave him the good news, and had him in transit after breakfast. Your husband was insistent that I immediately write and inform you of his discharge.

Given the slowness of the mail in these parts, it is possible he will be home before you receive this letter. In which case, I hope you will have enjoyed a joyful reunion, Mrs. Freeman. Many of my men would sell their souls for such a homecoming. And such a wife. The lieutenant has sung your praises often. I don’t mind telling you that he’s like a brother to me. Tighter, I think.

He is still weak and will require a long recuperation. But rest assured that your husband will be tended to by one of our finest nurses on his journey home. Nurse Abbott has requested and secured leave, and the permission to accompany your husband and others from our company on the long trip home. She lives but a short distance from you and Lt. Freeman, and will be by his side for the duration of the journey. He will be in good hands. Nurse Abbott is a particularly caring and capable young lady. One of our best.

Mrs. Freeman, your husband’s war is over. By God’s good grace, we’ll all join him soon enough.

Yours truly,

Cpt. John Barker


The conclusion is here


Charles Gramlich said...

A pause so to speak. Our questions lead us onward.

Aniket said...

Good news finally! But will there be a face-off between Elise and Hannah? They should must meet once. Eagerly waiting for the reunion.

Catvibe said...

Well Sarah, you sure know how to string us along! I am so happy to know that he is on his way, and I hope your next installment comes later today!!!!! :-) So darned exciting! I was really enjoying your talent at putting a different voice to each character. I must admit to being surprised that this character was male. He seemed to have so much compassion for HER feelings and forthcoming with his own that I felt he was a she until I saw his name at the end of the letter. (Now don't get mad all you men, I know there are a number of you out there that have these capacities. And just as many women that don't ;-)

Jennifer said...

Sarah, this is delicious! I am struck by the boldness of "Nurse Abbott" even given her feelings for Patrick, and even given her one (bold) earlier comment to Elise that Patrick had requested she stay on as his nurse. It seems that she cannot let go of him either. Unless she has something she feels she must say to Elise in person (dare we hope?? :) )

But what I am most focused on here, oddly, is not Elise's reaction to Hannah's boldness, but Patrick's. This is supposed to be his trip home to Elise's waiting arms. Does he resent Hannah's presence? Does he feel compassion for her situation? Is he still drawn to her, too, and feeling grateful for the extra time to be in that shared space???

Wonderfully rendered!!

Anonymous said...

Homecoming is going to be big, one way or another. I'm holding out for a happy ending.

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, I hope so.

Aniket, this letter was more of an information glut, a setting of the scene. I felt a little badly about that. But I'm glad you're still eager!

Cat, in my mind, he had gotten to know Elise through Patrick's words and felt a brotherly warmth towards her, too. While still maintaining that military formality.

Yep, next week should be it (unless it's an extended vignette--then I might break it up)! And thank goodness. ;) Thank you, Cat, for being such a supporter of these characters, and their tangled story.

Jennifer, I love that you're looking at this from so many different perspectives! It's important to keep that vision as fiction readers, and in real life, I think.

There are no heroes or villains here. At least, I don't view any of them that way. Just too much emotion and converging momentum. But yes, something will be lost, and found, in the trip and reunion. Or maybe many things.

Jason, me too. Always.

Karen said...

Oh, Nurse Abbott! What are you up to? Is this a last opportunity to be with the man you love, or must you face Elise at last?

Oh, Sarah! You know how to do this!!!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

How exciting for our young couple! They will be reunited soon and seems he is doing okay.

But, of course, my chin DROPPED when I read that Nurse Abbott is accompanying him home - at her request.

Okay, let's be mature adults here. She DOES live near, and there ARE others in the company she will look after, and there is NO indication, really, that Patrick knew about this arrangement previously...maybe it was "news" to him when he saw her there. Perhaps, because she had tended these men for so long, she felt a an obligation to get them home safe and sound. After all, I guess they are still in need of care. mmmmm.... I just don't know...

But can't wait to find out!!

Fantastic, Sarah! ;)

Aine said...

Ugh! What is nurse Abbott playing at??

Sarah Hina said...

Karen, thank you! My process is very haphazard, but I'm relieved it's coming together in time for the big conclusion.

It's also been cool for me to remember that serial pieces were once commonplace. I admire how patient readers had to be! Those cliffhangers must have been fun to write. :)

K, yes! I definitely wanted Hannah's motivations to be a mystery right now. I thought it best to pull back from the main characters right before the convergence, to whet my wonderful readers' curiosity further. ;) Thank you for letting me know it worked!

I'm feeling no pressure for that conclusion. Nope, not a bit..


Aine, we'll see...

David Cranmer said...

Ah, I'm late again leaving a comment. How does Charles always get here first? Anyway, another strong edition Sarah.

Chris Eldin said...

You tease us so!
Naughty, naughty poet...

Sarah Hina said...

David, I'm convinced Charles is part machine. ;) Thanks for sticking with the series for this long. Almost there...

Chris, I know. I need to be smacked. :P