As darkness takes colour and shadows become trees, I stand on the veranda and sigh. A cockerel crows, a bird sings as a new day begins.

My thoughts turn to my husband. Where is he? What is he doing? Will he be gazing into the beauty of a new dawn or will he be in a trench somewhere, surrounded by mud, smoke, death and the sounds of gunfire? Will he be thinking of me as I am thinking of him, or has he woken to this new day, wondering if this would be his last?

It has been months since a letter arrived from him. They say no news is good news, but I wonder about that. Every time a letter arrives, I open it, hands shaking, heart hammering in my chest. Then cry when I know it’s nothing.

I rub my arms, pull a strand of hair behind my ears and listen to the sounds of the new day. Will it bring renewed hope and a new page to write? Will there be something in the post for me today?

I turn to go inside, but a noise catches my attention. Wheels turning on the cobbles. The air turns tense, icy cold. Could this be the telegram boy with a message for me? Should I go in or wait as I am? I tremble. Panic surges through me. My stomach clenches, knots, as the wheels come closer.

But it’s only Mr Jackson, pedalling to work. He waves and forces a smile. I know he is waiting for news of his son, my husband’s closest friend. I go inside, busy myself with the simplest of chores, hoping the hours will pass quickly.

I’ve been changing the bed, dusting and sweeping, too busy to hear the letterbox or notice the letter laying on the doormat.

I recognise the handwriting. It’s from Joe. My Joe. As the first tear breaks free, the rest follow in an unbroken stream. He is alive.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
11 months ago

Lovely story, Genya, so full of emotion. Lovely ending, leaving us with the same feeling of hope as your protagonist. Well done

bob mynors
bob mynors (@bob-mynors)
11 months ago

The story takes us straight in: it has to in this short format and you succeeded. It was hard to stop my eyes wandering down the page before reading the story, I so wanted him to be alive. Thank you.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
11 months ago

This brought a tear to my eye too Genya. Such an emotional story. The agony, waiting for news of a loved one, must have been unbearable for those at home. I shared the relief of those last lines. Really well told.

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Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
11 months ago

The pain and the agony of not knowing what the turn-out will be is almost too much! It is an emotional roller coaster until we reach the last word of the story.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
11 months ago

Hello Genya. You captured the anxiety and the air of dread that hung over all wives, mothers and brothers, sisters too, and everyone who had someone who went to war. Even now there are still families who carry the scars of the First and Second world wars, and I guess that there may be someone perhaps in your family that you wrote this for?
You made the horror of war so real Genya – well done.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
11 months ago

A very well described morning for one of all those women left alone during the war. The manner you bring in tiny, well chosen details in your story makes it very realistic and pulls the reader into the woman’s worries and final but only momentary, relief.

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Juma
Juma (@juma)
11 months ago

Congratulations, Genya, on a well-deserved win! I’ve read this story several times and each time I feel like standing up and cheering when she gets the letter. Beautiful, sensitive writing that speaks to all of us.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
11 months ago

Congratulations, Genya, and thank you for such an emotionally beautiful story!

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
11 months ago

Congratulations Genya, very well deserved ?

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
11 months ago

Congratulations Genya. A very moving story, so pleased for you.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

Wow! A very touching story. My tears are shedding, and as I am reading, I am wishing as well that the husband is alive. Nice ending, it brings so much joy to my heart. Well-written.

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