She’d smuggled eggs in the pocket of her school-coat across a soft border, while he chased German Panzers across the scorched plains of Catalina. Italian girls threw flowers from open windows that lined the liberated streets. They fell like confetti onto the hull of his Sherman tank.
An autumn breeze streams her veil and sunlight dapples their faces.
John stands Napoleonesque, right hand tucked into the jacket of a double-breasted suit. Calm and sanguine; a steady gaze below bushy eyebrows. His bride is diminutive, radiant. Feet neatly together in polished shoes of gunmetal grey. She holds a bouquet of red roses beneath the sweetheart neckline of a pale blue dress, handmade over the summer with grosgrain silk from Dublin. Altered more than once, as nerves trimmed vital statistics.
Their early months; a second-hand bed in a rented stone cottage, perched on the edge of the Lough. Near the ancient Keep where Gaelic lords made the first settlement. Over the wild winter, waves come up the sink, and sand flies hop under the door of their haven.
Within the year, she’ll give birth to a son also called John, which means God is gracious. They’ll flit to a larger place, The Grain House, courtesy of his employment as caretaker of the corn mill. Two dark-haired girls, the image of their mother, will follow in steps. Children that would be hard-working, honest and good.
The night of the mill fire, John will go to check, and four will wait; the orange glow spreading across their faces.