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Springtime Ride

Year 1941

The hot sun was balanced out the spring sea breeze as I lay the sand—my feet bare. I had my eyes closed, already having the island’s scenery memorized, perfectly content with the peaceful atmosphere. I listened to the birds’ songs, the waves crashing, and the palm tree leaves rustle.

“Are you asleep, Mrs. Williams? I brought sandwiches for us. It’s your favorite,” a deep voice whispered in the wind. I smiled without opening my eyes. He spoils me too much.

“No, I’m not. Thank you, Edward,” I said as I reached up for my sandwich. Instead of placing one in my palm, he stuffed one in my face—the jelly and peanut butter flying into my wavy, bronzed hair. I sat up abruptly, my eyes flying open, and stared at Edward.

“Ahaha! Your face! You should have seen your face!” Edward said, as he bent over with loud laughter. With his guard down, I swiped a sandwich away from the platter and threw it into Edward’s nose. Now it was my turn to laugh.

“Good aim, Rose,” Edward said, picking up a sandwich. “Let’s check on your dodging skills.” And the rest of the afternoon we threw sandwiches at one another.

My relationship with Edward was like this day exactly—easy, natural, sweet, and enjoyable. We have known each other since high school days, but we were married just a couple month ago, both of us at the age of twenty-two. Because of our love of water, we decided to move on an island out on Lake Superior. Edward’s parents, being the wealthiest people of Northern Michigan, decided to buy the tiny island for their son and his wife easily. It’s like being a princess when I’m with Edward. He’s my prince charming, his parents are the king and queen which makes the island my castle.

We only go off the island every three weeks to buy food and Edward’s profession allows him to stay at home for his work. We’ve been living on the island for a month, the happiest I’ve been since my parents passing. I remember this as I was lounging on the living room couch eating the rest of Edward’s red velvet cake. I tasted the warm, cherry filling and the sweet icing around it. And I finished it off with some creamy, white milk.

It was around five in the evening when Edward called me into the kitchen—his voice was an odd combination of steadiness and unease. Immediately, my guard was up.

“What’s wrong?” I asked as I walked into the familiar and warm kitchen. It always felt warm when Edward was in the room. Almost instantly, Edward pulled me into his arms and kissed my forehead. This wasn’t going to be good. His voice was soft and rushed.

“The war in Europe has exacerbated more than we thought, Rose. France has already been defeated by Germany, along with Poland. The German Army plans to take Britain within three months—effectively ending the war with a German victory. Roosevelt finally decided to station American troops on the border of Britain to help repel the German force. They already pulled out the draftees, Rose.”

For a long moment, I couldn’t speak. We just got out of the depression! America should not be a war that has absolutely nothing to do with us. I looked up at Edward’s sad blue eyes, “It is okay. We will be fine with Michigan’s strong industries. The influence on economy will not touch our area.” My confidence strengthened as I spoke. “We will be just fine,” I repeated. Edward closed his eyes and shook his head. “You’re not listening.”

Confused, I thought about a deeper meaning to his words, They already pulled out the draftees… My confidence shattered like glass.

I froze, my brain could not function with his words. Already, the room felt cold. I shook my head—my eyes watery, “You. Are. Not. Leaving. Me.”

He tightened his hold around me, “I leave in a week for training.”

I walked around the house that precious last week in a daze, as I look back I should have I spent all my time with Edward. However, it was like my mind couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that Edward, my Edward, was leaving for seven months to a go fight in a war.

It was unseasonably cold the morning he left our island. The autumn fog shrouded everything in its blanket. Lake Superior was still, almost silent, so I could easily hear him when he said, “Trust me when I say I will be back. I’ll see you next spring, Rose.” I just nodded. Then, with one last hard, determined look, he quickly got on his white boat and drove off. I watched him until he, too, was immersed within the mist as well. I don’t remember how long I stood there, I hardly remember the first month of Edward’s absence. All I remember is his long letters ending with the same phrase each time, “I’ll see you in the spring.”

Those words kept me sane during the treacherously long fall and winter months, but didn’t shield me from the agony and loss. My prince was away fighting for my freedom which left me defenseless in my castle. Or was it an isolated prison? That is was it felt like.

The island was as silent as any jail cell. The birds’ sweet melodies had left for the winter and the lake’s pitiful waves echoed my every agonized heartbeat. The absence of Edward’s booming laugh held the island at a quiet standstill. The palm tree leaves did not dance and sway as it did before he left. They unwillingly bend under the winter storms and their leaves fall to the ground lifeless.

The island was as icy as a dungeon. I had not anticipated the colder weather near the lake. The cold was everything; everywhere at once. The winter snow froze the majority of the Lake Superior. The thick gray clouds hid the sun in the daytime and the moon at night. Without Edward’s warmth, the weather was out of balance.

The island’s delicate smell vanished. The plant life was hibernating; therefore, did not give off its usual fresh, natural scent. Edward did most of the baking and the house in its entirety would smell like his dish. Now, the house does not have any scent: it must have disappeared when Edward did.

Overall, the island was no longer resembled a fairy tale—it resembled a graveyard. Everything on the island was gray and lifeless, including myself. I didn’t look in the mirror often (what was the point when you had no one to impress?). Frequently, I would stare out the window towards the lake for him, hoping that he would come back early, but it was the same sight every time. Gloomy waters stretched out for miles as did the same gray clouds.

I only left the melancholy island for two things. First were food and drink. Second was Edward’s letters. He wrote them religiously for exactly five months, but abruptly stopped in the sixth month. I wondered what this meant. Was he coming home soon? Was he going to surprise me? This is what I thought, but, as it finally reached spring, I grew terribly worried. Did he forget about his promise? As spring came to a close, I decided that he must have had to serve for a couple more months. As I waited, the seasons changed and winter showed its dreadful face all too soon. By this time, I was numb with worry. Surely, he must have found a pretty German woman to replace me. Did he ever love me? Was I not enough for him?

It has been six and half years since I last saw Edward and I am still on this island of hell. But to prove my love for Edward, I will continue to wait in this doomed castle. I still see myself as a princess. A princess who will wait in a wretched castle until her prince comes for her.

by Tuesday Stadeker

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