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Mary Rose O'Donnell


Alice C. Bateman


Love Under Fire, The War Brides

I hear a disturbance outside my door

Outside the door of my heart

I hear a disturbance outside the door

A knocking, a spreading apart


A feel a disturbance inside my soul

A restlessness brought on by you

To fulfill a deep need to nurture your seed

And build us a child, made of you


Oh, my Theo, I miss you so much tonight. I yearn for you, I long for you. I looked for you in the Ether and could not find you there, so I looked into the mirror, but you face was again turned away. It has been such a lonely, long and difficult kind of day.


Oh my Darling, how I miss you

How I long for one sweet touch

Of my fingers on your soft sweet lips

Oh, I love you, oh so much


And tonight while you're away from me

And not here in my arms

I pray to God in Heaven

That He keeps you safe from harm


That there'll never be a bullet

That bears your sacred name

That there'll never live one person

That means to cause you pain


That there'll never be a candle

That won't propel its light

To slowly draw you homeward

In deepest darkest night


I Love You, my Beloved

More and more and more

I Love You, my Beloved

You are welcome at my door


One half of me pours my heart out in love and longing for my Theo, while another part mocks me for being so selfish as to be caught up in my own personal world while there is so much at stake in the larger one.

Each moment during my indescribable days, when I catch myself daydreaming about my Theo, I give myself a mental kick, reminding myself to take care of the immediate needs of the young men all suffering and dying around me.

I have heard a few objections because I am going to marry a man whose skin happens to be a little darker than my own. But right now I am very glad of this, because there are very few dark-skinned men in the Allied Forces, so my heart has only stopped beating completely once. Today, when I saw a dark hand lying on top of the blanket on one of the incoming stretchers. The face was completely covered with a bloody bandage, and I was paralysed by fear for minutes. Finally, the Corporal from Records called out the name from the poor boy's dog tags.


I thought I would die right then. When my heart started beating again, it did so with an incredible pounding.


For those long moments of paralysis my brain kept saying "I couldn't find him in the mirror, because he's dead, I can't find him in the mirror, because he's dead." When my heart rushed back into my body, I began shaking uncontrollably, head to toe. My legs collapsed, and someone placed me on a nearby chair. Sandy said later that I turned entirely white, with only two bright spots of colour high on my cheeks.

This episode gave me so much more respect for the women working around me. It made me realize that they must live with this dread every moment, every day, terrified that the next man to come off the ship, dreadfully wounded, could be their own husband or sweetheart. I have no idea how they live with this horrible fear.

Why does the world do this? Why do we send our healthy young men off to war, with deadly weapons, and then wait to see which ones come home alive?

I have taken to smoking cigarettes, I've just lit one now. I liked the taste of them in Theo's mouth, the smell of the smoke around him. And I've always watched with envy the women who can casually sit down and expertly roll up a cigarette and inhale it. Some of the girls manage to get Canadian cigarettes and Sandy gave me four of those today. Excuse me, Diary, while I have a few puffs and then put this out. There's one thing this war and all the shortages has taught us all, and that is to conserve whatever we have.

I'm also finding that, number one, I have a good ear for languages, and number two, that I am beginning to sound different when I speak, to my own ears. It's not only the tone of my voice, which I like the sound of much better since being infused with this wondrous thing called Love, it is also the way I speak.

Being raised by an Irish father and a Scottish mother has given me, shall we say, an 'interesting' accent. And a mixture of the favourite sayings of my mother and father. For instance, if you want to insult or offend a person, use my own Mom's favourite, "You're an Ethiopian tumshey-headed ape." Now in our country, Scotland, a tumshey is a turnip, as we all know, and I don't know why I'm explaining a perfectly ordinary word to you either, Diary. I am growing a little tired.

But I feel Theo active and moving tonight, and so I am restless, my spirit far away, hovering anxiously over him, to thwart any harm that might attempt to befall him. I am even finding small snatches of Theo's lovely soft voice coming out of my own mouth. He truly is my Heart, my Soul. We are entwined, enmeshed, inseparable.

Oh, good, he is finally here with me now. I must put down my pen. I love the Ether Realm.

Chapter Five

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