In one of the many folders of information handed to us as guests of the hotel was this (blank then) story page. It gave the first line of the story for you to write the rest. So here is my attempt. The setting I blame on the gap in the window seal. 'Are we having an air raid?' I asked Husband soon after we arrived in our room.
'No,' he said. 'It's the wind howling through the gap.'
So don't expect happy and joyful.The last time I saw him he was on the balcony looking up at the stars. I stood in the shadows and watched him. This would be our last night together, at least for a while. He hadn't said the words but I knew him.
I walked up to him and slipped my hand in his. He smiled at me. 'I was miles away,' he said.
'I know.' I stroked his cheek. 'I know.'
The distant horizon was lit up momentarily and the noise of the explosion made me grip his arm more tightly. I didn't want it to be like this. I wanted it to be normal; the way it never was. 'Let's go,' I said. 'We don't have to stay here. My aunt in Paris, she would welcome us.'
He pulled me in closer and wrapped both his arms around me before sighing, 'I wish ...' He stopped and we both knew his wish. It wasn't to take me and escape from this edge of the war zone. It was to be back there. 'Where I'm needed.'
'You're needed here,' I cried but he wasn't listening.
'Where I can make a difference.'
I didn't try to argue. We'd been through it so many times. As a surgeon he saved lives every day. Ordinary people with ordinary diseases needed him just as much as the rebel troops. I'd tried to tell him, make him understand. He'd been injured once; that was why he'd been sent home. 'You've done your duty,' I pleaded with him.
'But it's not about duty. Its about what I believe in. Standing up for what is right for this country, for my people, for us.'
The next morning he was gone before I woke up.
We managed to speak occasionally when he could get a signal. He sounded more alive than he had done for months. Then.
'It has been confirmed that a makeshift hospital used by rebel troops was destroyed last night by friendly fire. A full investigation is underway. It is understood there were no survivors.'
When will they realise there is no such thing as friendly fire. War is never friendly.
My bag is packed. I am taking what I think I will need and nothing else. Tomorrow I will begin my journey to Paris but tonight, for just one last time, I will stand on the balcony and look up at the stars.