October 20, 1944 – Part 2

(Dodging Shells gave you Tommy’s letters to his sister, from the front. Kathy’s letters in response tell of life in wartime Toronto.)

…..Fate, it seems, was distributing elegant outerwear that day.
…..I was reorganizing some files, so I was still at my desk that evening when Flo made a discovery in the personnel manager’s office. Florence is our supervisor.
…..“Oh, shit!” she blurted. “There it is. Sonofabitch!” Flo can swear like a trooper when she thinks nobody’s listening.
…..“Something wrong?” I asked.
…..“Oh. I thought everybody was gone.” She pulled a smart black velvet evening coat out of the back of his closet. It had an ermine collar, and didn’t seem quite his style.
…..“It’s mine,” she said. “I remember now. I wore it to that charity thing I attended with Mr. White up at the Arcadian Court last spring. It rained that night, so I tucked it away here afterward rather than let it get all spotty. And then I completely forgot.
…..To tell the truth, she can be a bit scatter-brained sometimes.
…..“Well, now you found it. That’s a good thing, right?”
…..“You don’t understand! My husband bought me that coat for my birthday just before he went overseas. It was expensive.”
…..“I can see that…but now you have it back. So what’s the problem?”
…..“Well, I couldn’t let Bob think I just went out and lost it, could I…like I didn’t even care about it? So I went out and bought another one just like it. Now I have two. I can’t have two…when he comes home, he’ll notice! What am I going to do?”
…..I had no experience with this kind of problem.
…..“Here!” she said. “You have it.” She bundled it into my arms.
…..“I can’t….”
…..“Of course you can. You’d be doing me a favour. Just don’t wear it anywhere Bob will be”
…..Well, who was I to defy fate? “Thank you so much! But wouldn’t you rather keep the one he bought you?”
…..“Oh no…the one I bought is actually nicer…and he’ll never know the difference.”
…..So I now have an elegant evening wrap. I just have to avoid Bob.


About Wendy Bertsch

I’m a Canadian author—a pragmatic optimist with rather eclectic interests and a pervasive sense of humour. Toronto born and bred, I live by the lake with a motley array of dogs and a cat, all but myself being of unknown origin, in a comfortable old house filled with books. Over a thousand books. Books in every nook and cranny. And now, since there can never be too many books, I'm writing more. Once More, From the Beginning highlights the women in the bible. It's about time! And believe me, they see things quite differently. And in Dodging Shells, you'll meet the irrepressible Tommy, as he fights his way through Italy in World War II. You'll love Tommy. I do. Next? Well, that's a secret yet. Stay tuned... I recently initiated the fledgling Ocean Highway Books, providing editing, formatting and cover design services to authors wishing to self-publish.
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