By Robert Lynch
Irene played on the swings as Marabella watched over her. The young girl was getting close to school age now. It was incredible how fast grandchildren grew, faster than when Tilly was a girl; Marabella thought.
It was time to leave, so after the necessary bargaining period to let her play for five minutes longer, Irene and Marabella began to walk back to Tilly’s house. Absentmindedly Marabella reached her hand out and linked hands with Irene.
Irene recoiled. “Grandma,” Irene said, “Your hand is so gross, why don’t you get them fixed?”
She smiled at the lack of social grace that came with youth. Marabella hadn’t thought about it for years, she looked down at her scarred hand and found herself thrown through the years.
The landing strip was well inside allied territory, although “well inside” was a relative term. Marbella brought the transport into land gently as a feather and the grunts began unloading the cargo bay. She climbed out of the cockpit and stretched her legs on the ground, sparking up a smoke. The boys worked with the efficiency that only the Mobile Infantry had. The heat and humidity made Marabella twitch just seeing those boy’s sweat, they must have had discomfort drilled out of them in boot camp.
She didn’t hear the first shot until after she had hit the ground. At first, Marabella couldn’t work out why she had fallen, but the pain came and told her that something was very wrong. Her hip and hand were on fire and there was blood everywhere. She looked to the cargo bay for help, but the infantry boys there were either pinned down or dead.
Her leftmost leg wasn’t moving, as she dragged herself under the ship for cover and passed out.
When Marabella awoke she was still under the ship. It was dark. She crawled on her good leg out from under the ship toward the cargo bay. One of the Infantry, a face she recognised, found her. She slept.
She awoke in a MASH tent where a young surgeon was sewing her wounds together. The surgeons were understaffed and understocked. A regenerator should have been used on the wounds, but power was low and the surgeons had to ration it for the worst wounded. There was no anaesthetic either, as the needle and thread tied her side back together.
The surgeon apologised as he did his work. What Marabella remembered from that moment was that even in the grunge and grime of the warzone Arthur shone as a gentle soul. That moment was the beginning of their romance. Tilly was born 3 years later.
“Some scars don’t need to be fixed.” Marabella told Irene.