Here I am, finally writing this story. A story that may seem unrealistic and 'folly' to some, but I hope that perhaps some may believe my 'tragedy'. I don't ask for pity, as it is all in the past now. This story is about sacrifice, a sacrifice that I will remember in my heart until my dying day, of a little blue bird that soared the endless sky, in the hope for peace.
1943 was indeed a depressing year, World War 2 had begun and so many had been lost. I'd sworn to myself that I'd never be involved in such cruelty and violence; until the day I was enlisted into the British Army. I remember leaving that day. I knew that I would never be able to wander the busy streets of London again, never again indulge in the pleasures that would only ever be memories that lingered in my mind.
We were stationed in the little town of Bayonne, France. Germany threatened invasion and it was our job to protect the civilians as well as guard the territory. We entered the town in our colossal rustic trucks and stirred the crowds of civilians. I studied them as they whispered in low tones. My attention was quickly distracted by the beautiful chirping of a bird. I snapped my head around quickly as I searched for the source. My gaze found an astonishing blue bird, with such indescribable beauty, perched on a small branch. The colour of its feathers revealed a blue as deep as thundering ocean waves. The blue bird caught a quick glimpse of me and flew away into the vast sky. If only I could fly away…
We'd been stationed at the camp for two days and so far not a single Nazi appeared in our site. When we were finally given a break for the day, I was relieved. I grabbed my gear and paced quickly into the small town of Bayonne. I admired its conservative structures. The buildings held such history and stories within them and the trees swayed softly in the warm breeze. The town's markets were peppered with such magnificent colors. I travelled along the path to the fruits section of the markets, until my site caught something, the image of a woman. This wasn't just any ordinary woman; this was a woman in a Blue Dress. I was captivated by her beauty as she stood there, her long dark hair played in the wind. Her eyes were a deep rich blue full of passion and love. I don't normally believe in love at first sight, but the moment my eyes fell upon her my heart skipped a beat. I had to approach her…
I followed the girl in the blue dress through the busy crowd, as the people were chanting at one another in the busy markets. We finally broke out of the crowd and I watched her as she wondered off the path and entered into the forest. I told myself not to bother…but something in me stirred wildly and I let my curiosity get the better of me. With my newly learnt skills in stealth, (Thanks to the enlistment) I snuck behind the trees and followed her, until the forest's cover began to end and our scene was now the summer's beach. My heart beat skipped at the site. SNAP, a twig underneath my foot cracked and she saw me….
I expected her to get angry, to walk straight up and hit me for stalking her, but she had that same peaceful look on her face. She asked me my name and I was paralyzed with fear. How I managed to utter "Steve Ryans," I don't know. The girl returned the gesture with "Coralie". Both the sound of her voice and name were the epitome of peacefulness. For hours on that beach we talked. Her witty and strong personality captivated me even more; she disagreed with the idea of war and wanted nothing but peace. She made me laugh and think, very deeply. She challenged my opinions and views and helped me see from another perspective. I had only been with her for a short time yet I felt a connection with her like no other. We sat there on the beach together and just gazed at the beauty of the sea. Everything was silent except the crashing of the waves, but we knew soon that we would have to leave this sacred place... I hoped I'd see her again….
We parted ways, never knowing if I would meet her again. I walked through the forest with a bounce in my step, as though I had just met the love of my life. I heard that chirping again, and looked up to find the blue bird perched on another tree and I indulged in its beautiful bird song.
A night had passed, only this night I slept like I had never before. Throughout my slumber I was embraced by dreams of Coralie dancing along the beach in her blue dress. I'll never forget that dress….for what was yet to come was nothing but nightmares. I awakened quickly from my slumber and was invited by the scent of gun smoke. I grew alarmed at the smell and quickly put on my clothes and helmet and exited the tent, when suddenly…..an explosion!
My body was thrown across the camp. My head was thumping, my lip was bleeding but one thing was clear to me…
The Germans were here.
As much as I hated it, I picked up my gun and ran. I ran through the town and came across the bodies of many fallen soldiers and slaughtered civilians, their eyes were dull and lifeless from the bombings. I was angry, scared and filled with sorrow. I kept on running to find any kind of life form. I finally found my commanding officer whose shoulder was oozing out with thick deep blood. He ordered me to defend the main barrier of the town. I joined my comrades as we readied ourselves to fire at whatever was to come…..
My comrades had fallen now, dead on the ground. Our infantry defeated …and here I was, one of the very few left. Here I lay on the ground; even if I avoided getting shot again, I would still bleed to death. My left thigh was bleeding heavily and I knew that this was it. A Nazi troop was exploring the wasteland. I hid behind our bunker and tried my best to remain silent. But I failed; someone spotted me. He drew nearer to me with his gun raised to my head. My helmet had fallen off during the bombing. This is it, I thought, as his finger pressed against the trigger…
Suddenly, that same blue bird came swooping into our scene, and flew right into the barrel of the gun's trigger…Bam... I watched the bird collapse from the sky and fall onto the ground. Its feather's were no longer a deep blue but a sticky red heap. The bird song was no-more, only silence…
Another shot was fired, not at me but the Nazi soldier. The second squadron had come to rescue the last of us…
Five hundred soldiers and civilians were killed that day. When I reflect on that time, it fills me with fear in every inch of my old broken body. I left France that day and was relieved of my duty...never again did I see Coralie as I finally realized who that beautiful bluebird was.
This story is told from the perspective of a man named Steve Ryan. This narrative consists of little vignettes (memories' that are significant to him during this time).