At a stuffy banquet honoring soldiers who fought the Great War, a man approached Mollie and whispered in her ear.
“Casualties, thousands needing immediate treatment. Transporting them to an old monastery. Working crazy, all hours. Death, over and over.” His head drooped low. “Too many dying. We loaded soldiers on stretchers, train cars to makeshift hallway wards.”
Mollie peeked at the punch bowl. He described diseases.
“Major injuries, minor burns, lung ailments, influenza, surgery. Dressing the wounds or shutting their eyes.”
“Horrid.” Mollie fiddled with her sweater buttons.
“Unimaginable.” In a sudden move, she grabbed his hand.
“And you returned?”
Ruth Ticktin taught in WashingtonDC since 1977. Supporting shared stories, she’s the author of: WasAmGoing (NewBayBooks 2022), What’s Ahead? (ProLinguaLearning 2013), and a contributor of: BendingGenresAnthology (2018–19); Art Covid-19 (SanFedelePress)