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Registered: 09-2003
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Re: Icarus


Final chapter, my sweets...thanks for reading!



Chapter Three



“Tell me about your home”, she asked once they were sitting back down on the chesterfield. They had to light another candle because the other had gone out, and they kept it on the table in front of them.

“Have you ever heard of Frankfurt-am-Main?”

She nodded her head as if to say no.

“It was originally a part of Bavaria before Germany united…it’s a beautiful sea town in Southern Germany. I grew up in the same house all my life with my two older sisters and mother. As you know my father died in the last year of the war and I do not have a single memory of him because I was too young…all I have are pictures.”

Eamon paused at this point as it was obvious he was thinking about his father, looking thoughtful and sad. “It’s a funny thing…I never knew him and yet he’s dominated my life in so many ways…my mother says I’m a lot like him.”

“How so?” she asked.

He smiled sadly when she asked this and she wondered what made him look this way, so deep in a sad memory.

“She told me she had begged my father not to join the air force when the last war broke out but he insisted because he wanted to fly…and how she had to endure the same thing with me when I wanted to enlist. She was worried that I would be killed in the air, like he was…”

Although she was not a mother she could imagine the pain she must have felt when her son wanted to enlist and go off to war, as her husband had years before.

“But you weren’t killed.”

“No…I just fell from the sky”, he said, a sad smile on his lips. She smiled in return, but it was only a half hearted one because of the fear she felt for him in her heart.

At that moment he reached into his uniform pocket, which was lying on the arm of the couch, and took out what looked like his wallet.

“Here he is with my mother when they were married in 1914”.

She moved closer to him so that she could see the picture that he held up to the light for her to see. She saw a handsome young man and lovely young woman on their wedding day.

“They were both lovely…I see the resemblance”, she told him.

“Thank you”, he said. “My Mother never remarried because she said she would never find another man as handsome as my father.”

She smiled when he said this, and then watched as he showed her another photo.

“And these are my sisters.”

She looked at the two dark haired girls.

“Beautiful.”

After a minute he put them both away.

“It’s too bad you don’t have any photos to show me of your family, but I can already tell your parents must be beautiful because you are beautiful.”

When he said this she blushed, looking down briefly in a shy way, smiling.

“Thank you.”

“Do you have any brothers and sisters?”

“I have two brothers, one who is four years younger and one three years older, who just joined the army.”

“How old is he?”

“Twenty one”.

“I am just two years older than him then.”

“I don’t know why men decide to join the army so young…my dad was just twenty five.”

“Yes, we are too young to die, yet too old not to. Our countries ask only the young men to fight, never the old ones. I believe your poet Sassoon writes about this, yes?”

She was surprised he knew of the famous English war poet, but smiled.

“You know English poetry? That’s what I’m studying.”

“Where are you studying?”

“At the University of Edinburgh. I started a year before the war broke out.”

“I was studying before the war too, though I did not study poetry. I was studying to become an engineer…how about you?

“I’m not sure but I think I may become a teacher. My brother will inherit the farm so I will have to decide my own future….do you think you will resume your studies after this is over?”

“I hope to”, he said, but there was a look in his eyes that seemed doubtful. “But who knows what will happen….”

She watched as he bowed his head, looking down at his hands. She listened as he continued.

“I’ve been trying to ignore the world outside this cottage but I can’t for much longer, can I?”

He turned to look at her, his eyes imploring hers for an answer. For the first time since she left him in the woods hours ago, he looked frightened.

“I wish the English will look at me the way you’re looking at me right now”, he said to her, his eyes turning soft. She felt her body go tense, a conflicting range of emotions that she did not fully understand at the time, but the overriding one she felt was sympathy. Despite herself, she reached out and put her hand over his, closing her fingers around it, tightly gripping on to him as if to transfer her strength to him. Truth was, though, she didn’t feel very strong in these moments, but she wanted to appear as if she could somehow make it better, to reassure him that things would turn out alright, even if she wasn’t sure herself.

“How do I repay you for your kindness?”

“It seems as though I’m the one who should repay you…you saved many English lives tonight, even though it could have meant losing your own.”
 
She looked at him, his face illuminated by the candle as it flickered in his eyes, and admired his story and his courage. She tried to smile to fight back the tears she felt, but instead she rose from the sofa to get the blanket that she had brought with her. It was cold inside the unheated cottage on this autumn night and it would be a few more hours until the sun came up. When she turned to give it to him she saw he was standing and she went over, holding the blanket up to him. Instead of taking it, he took her by the shoulders instead, bringing her into his arms. She left herself be embraced, feeling the instant warmth his body gave to hers, and the warmth of his affection. After little hesitation she put her arms around him in return, resting her head on his chest, closing her eyes to the world that was closing in on them. She needed this act of reassurance as much as he did, maybe even more so. In those moments they felt like they were the only two people in this little world; the only two people that could help each other. The world outside this small cottage would not understand them.

She felt warm, safe and tired in his arms, allowing herself for the first time to relax without the rush of adrenaline in her veins. Neither of them wanted to part, only to stay like that so that the reality of where they were did not have to invade this new form of intimacy they had just discovered. She knew he was saying thank you and, in her own way, she was also saying the same to him.

He parted with her slightly and, looking down, lowered his face to hers and kissed her. It was a deep, natural response that both of them felt was right and necessary. The story of the night played out in this kiss, uniting them in a way neither of them expected. When they parted momentarily, she looked up at him with a smile.


Afterwards, Victoria sat back on the chesterfield, feeling tired and worn down by the emotions of what just happened and of the day that had just passed. Through the curtains cracks of dim light were fading through, signalling that the night was over and dawn was coming. She looked over at Eamon who was sitting down too, resting his head against the back of the chesterfield.

“I don’t want to leave”, she said, looking over at him.

“You should”, he said through closed eyes, “and get some rest…I’ll be fine…I’ll just sleep for a bit”.

He had not even opened his eyes to say this, but he reached over and grabbed her hand. His voice was sleepy and worn out from the long night, and he looked like what he needed was rest.

“I’ll come back in a few hours. We can talk about what to do…I’ll bring some more food”.

She got up and handed him his shirt uniform.

“Put this back on to stay warm”.

He had the blanket on him but she wanted to make sure he would be warm enough as he slept. He did as she told him, slowly putting it over his arms, trying not to aggravate the wound. He had more of his medication out if he needed to use it, but for now he said all he could think of was sleep. She watched him for a few moments as she stood there, as he laid back on the chesterfield, and admired the beautiful contours of his German face. She left him as he slept and went back to her house, quietly sneaking in just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. Sleep came to her quickly, even though her mind was racing along with her heart.



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9/7/2008, 10:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to OrlilLicious   Send PM to OrlilLicious
 
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Re: Icarus


******************************

“The next thing I remember is waking up to the sound of dogs barking. At first I didn’t pay any attention to it and kind of drifted off again in my bed, but some time later I heard the shots”.

The young man looked at his mother with a pensive expression on his face, waiting to hear what she would say next, yet at the same time not wanting to hear it.

“Somehow I just knew…I ran back to the cottage, not even fully dressed, and there they were…the police had found him…I later learned that his plane went down a few miles away and they had been on the hunt for him all night”.

At this point Victoria had to stop the story and bowed her head, trying as best she could to control her emotions. Her son put his hand over hers and didn’t say a thing; instead he waited for her to continue what he knew was very difficult for her to say.

“I haven’t allowed myself to think of this image for thirty years. It’s not how I wanted to remember him. He was so beautiful, and then to see him that way tore me apart. The police thought I fainted because I had just seen a dead German….they had no idea…”.

“They killed him?”

She nodded, opening her eyes now so that she would not have to see what she had been repressing from her memory for 30 years.

“Yes”, she said coldly. “And it’s something I can never forgive myself for”.

“But Mum, you did all you could”.

She nodded her head, wanting to explain.

“If only I had not told him to put on his uniform jacket he might have survived. They opened the door and saw him with the uniform and knew he was a German…but without it, you would not have been able to tell so quickly”.

She had tears coming down her cheeks now, not able to fight them back any longer. Her son was holding her hand, trying to comfort her as she told this painful story.

“It was against the law to kill an enemy soldier the way they did. By all rights they should have arrested him and kept him in a prisoner of war camp…England was scattered with them by 1941-42. They even sent German POWs to Canada until the end of the war…I know because I remember driving by one of the camps when I was on my way to Toronto…it was a constant reminder to me of what happened to Eamon”.

She sat beside her son at the kitchen table, wiping away the tears that she was not able to control. When she was able to calm down somewhat, she reached for the envelope she had near her and, hesitantly, she opened it to take out old photographs. Before he even saw them he knew what they were, but he took them when she passed them to him and looked down at the face of the German man she had just told him about.

She watched her son’s face for his reaction, but was not prepared for what she heard him ask:

“This man is my father, isn’t he?”

She could not find the words, but only nodded her head to say “yes” to the family secret she had held from him and everyone else for 30 years.

“But how? When? Was it that night?”

She collected her thoughts and decided that this was the first time she was ever telling this story and that she wanted to make it sound right. Shame and guilt had kept this her secret, yet she knew deep down there was nothing to be ashamed of, and that she had to make him understand.

“The kiss I told you about…well, it didn’t end there…I just didn’t think it was something you would want to hear explained, so I left it out…but yes, it happened during that one night…the only way I can explain it is that I felt very close to him, and very attracted. I’ve never felt that way about anyone before or since”.

“Mum, I’m not judging you…I would never do that”.

“I know…I just wanted to explain. Your grandmother thought it was some local English boy, and that was bad enough…”

“And that’s why you came to Canada, to have me…?”

That much of the story he already knew. In fact, he had always been told that it was an Englishman who had fathered him, but that he had died during the war and she was left to raise the child with relatives in Canada. There had never been a photograph, not even any real story about his father, until now. He looked down at the face of the man that he now could say was his father and could hardly believe his eyes; it was as if he was looking at his own reflection in the mirror.

“I look just like him”.

“I know…and that is why it was so difficult for me to keep this from you for so long. You were a reminder to me every single day of Eamon, and how much I loved him”.

When she saw him look up at her, she saw that her son had tears in his eyes.

“I still love him; that is why I never married”.

She saw him look back down at the photograph, the one she had taken from Eamon’s body before they removed it from the cottage. She had taken the others, too, the ones of his family, hoping that somehow she would be able to reach them…she never did.

“I didn’t know how you would react seeing that your father wore a German uniform…a Nazi uniform, instead of an English one. That is why I never showed you, or told you, until now”.

“From what you tell me I should only be proud of my father…he was a hero”.

“He was…that’s why I loved him immediately”.

When he looked at the others, the ones that she said were of his sisters and parents, he resolved that he would try to find them. This was the piece of the puzzle that was always missing in his life, and now that he finally knew who he came from he was determined that he would discover that other part of himself.

“Do you mind if I try to look his family up?”

“I hope you do…I think that would mean a lot to them to know Eamon has a son”.

She too now took her turn to look at the photograph, the same one he had held the night she spent with him in the cottage. It had been just one night, yet no one before or since had influenced her life so profoundly. She felt tied to him in ways she could not even begin to explain…but there was one more part of the story she felt she needed to explain.

“Another thing I wanted to explain to you is your name…when you were born I wanted to name you after your father, but I guess I thought that would have been too painful for me to have to call you by the same name…little did I know how you would turn out to look one day”, she said, a sad smile coming over her lips for the first time since she began the story.

“Of course you know the story of Icarus”.

He nodded his head, recalling how she would tell him the story when he was a child.

“It’s been a while since you’ve heard it…Icarus was a young man who desperately wanted to fly…being pressured by his father and wanting to impress him, it made him even more determined. He flew too high one day and his wings melted, so he came crashing down to earth…Eamon was my Icarus that fell from the sky that day…”

After having heard her tell him this story, and the origins of his own name - Icarus - many times before, he suddenly understood that all those times she had been telling him the story of the Greek mythological young man, she had actually been telling him the story of his father. Not only did he understand this, but also now his own father was no longer a story of mythology; he was a real man who lived and breathed…and who flew with hero's wings.



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9/7/2008, 10:48 pm Link to this post Send Email to OrlilLicious   Send PM to OrlilLicious
 
Pammie312 Profile
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Registered: 08-2005
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Re: Icarus


OMIGOSH, Lolo. That was so not how I was expecting this story to end, but I have to hand it to you: it was perfect actually. Eamon was doomed from the moment his plane was shot down, so it was bittersweet that he found a measure of happiness in Victoria's arms before the English troops sent to hunt him down found him alone in the little shack.

I wondered how, when I began reading, you'd incorporate the myth of Icarus into the story, and I see now it was a good analogy of the man who flew too high and came back to earth. I see it from the perspective of Victoria, in that the "high" was their one night of passion, with the terrible coming back to earth when she heard the fateful gunshots the next morning.

I was surprised at the last part of this chapter; that Victoria was telling her son about his father, and I wondered what the catalyst was for the confession. Was she ill? Or had Icarus asked questions about his father, and she no longer had the will to keep the truth from him? In my imagination, Victoria became overwhelmed by her son's resemblance to his father and at last unburdened herself.

Whatever the reason was, the young man learned of his father's bravery and heroism, and he was moved to try to find his German family...to connect with them. The story belongs to Victoria though, for it shows us that we can't judge others by the clothes they wear or the accent they speak with, or the country they come from--if we let our prejudices rule us, we might miss out on something profound in our lives.

Kudos, babe! emoticon emoticon emoticon

---

Thank you, Shiloh~
9/9/2008, 3:44 am Link to this post Send Email to Pammie312   Send PM to Pammie312
 
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Re: Icarus


Hey Pambi,

Your thoughts were, as always, wonderful to read, not to mention thoughtful. I'm glad I managed to surprise you with the ending a bit, as I sort of surprised myself as I was not sure where this short story was going when I started writing. It was really something I needed to do, however, to get my feet wet once again (it's been over a year since I wrote anything and completed it!).


It was so great to have you read and leave your thoughts...you're a doll! emoticon


Image


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9/9/2008, 10:58 pm Link to this post Send Email to OrlilLicious   Send PM to OrlilLicious
 
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Registered: 12-2005
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Re: Icarus


Holy crow Loretta love!!!! That was amazing!!! And really sad...but mostly amazing!

When I saw that it was the last update, I was like "NOOOOO!" but honestly, this ending was perfect. I just can't get over how wonderfully you write!

I was also wonderfing how the myth of Icarus was going to be woven into the story, and when Victoria explained it to her son, it all made sense and was just so wonderful.

I really really loved this Loretta, even though Eamon was killed. I was completely caught up in the emotions and the story and the characters. I LOVED IT!

I'm sorry it took me so long to write! Let me know if you plan on writing anytime soon! I've missed your stories!!!
Love you B!!

9/10/2008, 10:09 pm Link to this post Send Email to iceprincess10   Send PM to iceprincess10
 


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