“Shirley and Henry, what you both did last night, leaving the party was incredibly disgraceful. Your grandfather and I now forbid you both to go to any more events if you show yourselves in such a disgraceful manner. I am disappointed.” declared my grandmother, angrily.
“I am very sorry grandmother, and this will never happen again.” I replied, calmly, glancing at Henry.
“Well you better be. You were the one that promised to bring Henry back, and instead you stayed with him.” retorted my grandmother irritably.
“Please do not blame Shirley for this, it is my fault I should have not left in the first place.” spoke up Henry who had been silent throughout the discussion.
“Henry…” I whispered. I did not want him to stand up for me, I could handle the situation, but he waved it off.
“Well because you both are being quite honest, your punishments will not be as harsh, but my mind still has not changed on the social events.” replied my grandmother, after she thought about the situation for a little bit.
“I do not mind, and I believe Henry does not either.” I replied, trying to make the best of the situation because I truly did not care anymore.
My grandmother just snorted with annoyance and excused herself leaving Henry and I alone. “My goodness she was furious.” sighed Henry.
“Yes, but we will endure our punishment, to please her.” I replied, with a sigh.
“That is the plan, but it won’t last long. We are leaving soon, which I am grateful about.” said Henry with a laugh.
“I will miss it here, but it would be a relief to return home.” I replied standing up, to enjoy the rest of the day, even with my grandmother’s wraith looming over me.
“Of course.” he replied softly, as he also stood up, and left the room.
I considered for a little bit on what I should do, I concluded to go on a walk around my grandparent’s house grounds. So quickly I grabbed my coat, scarf,and hat, then I looked for a door, which I easily found. Outside it was cold but sunny and crisp, which was pleasant.
As I walked around the long stretch of property and around the large and ancient trees, I began thinking about what I will do when I return home, I could not keep the secret to myself, and there was no use in keeping it, Ralph was dead…
April 15th 1918
“Shirley, something awful happened.” said Bertha with a sad and breaking voice, as she sat beside me on my bed.
“What’s going on?” I was completely ignorant to what was going to happen.
“Ralph was killed in combat.” she replied slowly, as if the words were painful to say.
I looked at her with shock, and confusion. There must be some mistake I thought, praying that this was not true. But deep down I knew that things like this were pointless to lie about…. Ralph wasn’t missing nor was he wounded, he was dead, gone from this world…
Bertha did not cry but instead put her arm around me in a tight embrace, I felt stiff in that embrace. I could not weep, how much I wanted to nor could I think…. He was gone…
I shook myself. All these memories were taking over me. After thoroughly lecturing to myself I felt like I was out of memory lane. I wish I could control what memories I relived, I thought with annoyance, as I continued my walk around the house grounds.
After some more trodding around I decided to go back inside to spend the rest of the day with Henry, and to try to avoid my rather angered grandparents, especially my grandmother. So I hurriedly rushed across the large yard towards the backdoor I had used.
Quietly I opened that door and entered the house, it seemed undeniably quiet but that was the way it was in a mansion, noise did not travel far. Which meant that I could find Henry without disturbing my irritated grandfather at a normal pace.
After I found Henry we spent the rest of the day doing quiet things, such as playing cards, reading intriguing novels that were from my grandparent’s library, and having pleasant conversations on trifle matters of course.
I rather enjoyed this change from the more hectic lifestyle of someone who attended many events. It felt normal and pleasant, almost a relief. But this relief would not last long, I soon had to return back to New York, and live with my estranged family and a secret that was going to explode in any moment….. Which I was not ready for, whatsoever.