In England in 1939, Margaret (known as Peggy) and Tom are innocent sweethearts. Then comes a war, which affects the lives of everyone in the country, and which causes the young couple to part. When Tom is reported missing, no one knows what has happened to him.
But now it’s 1945, and a letter arrives. Will the lovers be reunited after all these years? In a story told mainly through the medium of letters, Margaret and Tom must confront the changes that have taken place in their lives as the traumatic effect of the war on the young couple is revealed. A short story.
She was sitting in the armchair listening to the wireless when the letter arrived. She glanced up as her mother came flying through the door, nearly tripping over the cat in her eagerness to deliver the glad tidings.
“It’s from him. Look at the postmark. He’s really safe. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Her mother passed over the blue envelope, furtively wiping away a tear.
Dismayed, Margaret realised that she could not match her mother’s emotion.
“Well aren’t you going to open it?”
She reached out to turn off the wireless. She had missed the end of the play anyway. “I’ll take it upstairs,” she said by way of an answer.
Looking out of the window in the small semi she shared with her mother, she remembered the last letter she’d received from Tom, before he went missing.
My darling Peggy,
How are you my dear girl? I’m absolutely fine, but I hope it’s not too long before I’m back in Blighty. Especially to be with you. I’ve had your photograph pinned up on my locker and the chaps have all been green with envy. They’ve got their pin ups—Vera Lynn and Betty Grable. But I’d rather have a real live girl in the FLESH. I can’t wait to see you. It feels so long since the days we spent together walking, talking and all the rest. Have you been thinking about it as much as I have? It’s lucky we didn’t get into a scrape, eh?
Particularly with me away all this time. Well, my dear. When this bloody war comes to an end, we must make it all legal and above board as soon as poss. You will say YES, won’t you?
Your loving Tom
Tom’s latest letter sat in her lap, unopened. It was too hard to face his bonhomie, his cheery optimism. In her mind, she started composing the reply. She had thought it through, in her head, many times before. It wasn’t easy.