Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mabry Project Rough Draft #6: They Lived Happily Ever After (not)

When I walked out of the grim and dark barracks that were housing the future of my country, I could feel the humid Tallahassee heat immediately about to burn my fair cheeks. It was the 1941 reports of Pearl Harbor were spreading quickly. I knew that I would soon have to go to war so I sat and thought about what it meant to be in the army defending the United States and what my future could look like.

As I was walking around the base I spotted it – my dream car. I had always admired the engineering of such a fine piece of machinery but had never been so fortunate as to own one myself. It was a perfectly cherry red 1930 Plymouth that could probably damage a blind persons eyes with the sheen gleaming off of it and whitewalls that I had always imagined to be the same color as the clouds in Heaven. I had never seen one in person with my own two eyes before, only heard about it and seen pictures. I started over to approach the car with fascination.

Before I even reached my destination a young lady stepped out. The thought of the car left my brain right away as my fascination turned towards her. She slightly tuned towards me and smiled. I should have said something but I had barely even been around a young lady in such a long time that I almost forgot what they looked like. I knew I could never forget a face like that ever again. She left the car behind her as she walked away.

I’m not so sure how she felt about me staring at her and her car without saying a word however, her smile suggested that she didn’t mind. I wanted to know who she was, where she was going, what she was doing, but I knew that I had to keep my focus on training and my long road ahead.

The 1930 Plymouth sat there near the Dale Mabry Field for days and watched as soldiers trained and airplanes took off. It saw Chinese, French, Japanese, and American pilots, commanders, and soldiers coming and going daily.

When I saw the car in the same spot that it was the first time I saw it, I approached it. I circled it admiring every curve and every piece of care and craftsmanship that went into it. I knew that if I were to touch it with my dirty hands after a long day that I would be sure to leave my fingerprints all over it but my fingers were still itching.

I was there probably longer than I should have been when I was startled and taken out of my daze when I was approached by the beautiful girl whose face I couldn’t get out of my head. This time I knew I must say something but she opened her mouth before I had a chance to even take a breath to speak. She greeted me and introduced herself, never even asking why I had been lingering around her car. My heart was racing and my cheeks turned as red as the paint on my dream car sitting next to me. After a while of talking and getting to know each other I came to realize that she was part of the College of Women at Florida State and was taking a civil aeronautics class which is why she was at the base. With an instant connection, we both had agreed to see each other again.

It sat on the cold, freshly rained ground. We didn’t even do anything but sit in it and talk. I couldn’t find a flaw with her. I even loved the silence between the sounds of the cars engine because that’s when I could just hear the quiet of her breathing along with the sound of the crickets and frogs. It was such a beautiful noise. Some people believe in love at first site and some people don’t – but I was one of the ones that did. Even though I had only met her several times I knew that I was falling already harder than I should have.

One week later I was being sent off to war. She had already said her goodbyes on the last time that we saw each other and agreed to see each other again upon my arrival. She said that she could not bear saying goodbye and even though I wanted to, I honored her wishes. And on that same day, I was gone never to see her or that car until I arrived.

The days passed, the car seats kept accumulating newspapers of events in the war like the Battle of Midway, the Soloman Islands, and the bombings in Japan, and she waited. Her heart was growing weary and her adoration of his face was bearing on her soul. The only things that she could do to help her grief was to sit in her car. She knew how much he loved it and in a way, it represented their love. It was red and passionate, it was dependable, it was rare and priceless, and it was beautiful.

At the base, the headlights of the car continued to watch the war unfold. Aeronautics classes, the first African American pilots, Tuskee airmen, and over 2 million people flying in and out of the field everyday. While they all had absolutely nothing to do with the car, it represented the love and peace that should be existing during the time instead of the war.

Years passed and she frequently wrote him letters to know that she hadn’t forgotten about him but he never replied except for once. Compared to all the lengthy letters she had sent him, his was very short. 

He wrote to her telling her where to be so that he can see her again when he arrived back at the base. She put his letter behind her steering wheel so that whenever she traveled somewhere, he would be with her.

The war had just ended and the country was filled with the same kind of love that they had. Happiness, excitement, victory, and passion filled Americans hearts. She was ready to experience those same feelings but could only feel them again when she knew he was back safe and with her.

On the day of his arrival she woke up early to have extra time in case the plane landed early. While she lived in a dorm that was within walking distance of the base, she drove her car because she knew that he would be happy to see her in it. She put a great deal of effort into making herself look presentable but still rushed out of eagerness.

What she didn’t know though, was that he was returning to break her heart. While he was fighting in Germany, he experienced things that he would never feel comfortable admitting to and it changed him. He was not happy and excited like the rest of the country, he was depressed and guilty. 

He even had callouses on his hands from holding and firing his gun which he knew had killed innocent people. He could never bear to let himself love someone as perfect as her because he felt as though he didn’t deserve it and he didn’t know how to tell her.

They had just landed at the field and he looked around for not her, but her car which was nowhere to be found. He had survived his whole family and she was the only person that he had. Even though he was going to break her heart, he still wanted to see her one last time.

The next day one of his friends from the barrack next door came knocking on his door. He recognized that face, he knew that something was wrong.

On her way to come pick him up, she was in a hurry out of excitement. She had the top down and was exceeding the speed limits by far. When she stopped to look and adore the letter that he sent to her, she thought about him and how she was so happy to see him again. He was the last thought in her head before she died along with their love and passion symbolized by her car. 

Comments; Oh! Did she have to die!?? And why was he going to break her heart?? To make this stronger you need to add a lot more historically specific details, and that will take a bit more research.  For example: send him off with a unit on a particular date,  have him survive a battle that unit was involved in... bring him back on a date that they came back...