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Paul Dienach's diary - 4 Dec 1918

Chronicles from the Future: Diary Page - December 4th & 6th 1918

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December 4 th 1918

Our secret happiness lasted several months. I don’t recall what season it was. Did other people talk about us? I don’t recall that either. The only thing I do recall is you. My every future plan, my every thought, my every hope was formed by you, and had your form…

Then I got offered the position at that school. I took it as a good sign and was quite happy, since I was financially independent and was able to see her every 3 months. Then another year passed. Her mother died. I had finally saved some money to start my life with her. She used to write to me saying she was very sad. I assumed that her mother’s late death was the reason. I was mistaken.

When that man appeared and asked Ann’s father for her hand in marriage, her father begged her to accept, lying to her about his financial situation. He kept begging her for months, bending her will little by little. Only after Ann’s death did I learn the whole truth about how her father took advantage of her love and affection for him. Should her mother have been alive, she would have sensed the pain in her heart.

Even now Amelia talks to me about how torn Ann was between making her father unhappy and shattering her own heart forever, and how much that made her suffer.  She would cry in her arms for hours and Amelia would urge her to leave home right that second, but she could never take that step.

Her mother’s last wish from her deathbed - for Ann to listen to her father - was pinned in her mind and defined her every move. And so, from a wrong interpretation of duty, she was consumed by the idea of sacrifice.

One morning I received a letter from my mother. Her brother had been looking for me. I met with him. He asked for my help. They still hadn´t managed to convince her. “Have you ever thought about how you´re going to live, in what conditions? What do you have to offer her?” he asked me. I asked him to leave, swearing at him, and then I went home and cried, for I had offended someone she so dearly loved.

I managed to see her, a couple of times. She looked happy. “Don’t worry, they can’t make me marry him without my consent…” she said.

Paul Dienach kissing Ann - Illustration

For the rest of my life - no matter how long that’ll be - the memory of her that night, the last time I ever saw her standing in front of me, will always stay the same, fresh and vivid in my mind. She wasn’t sad. On the contrary; she was full of optimism. She was laughing. I couldn’t stop staring at her. We were on “our” hill. I placed my lips on her hair. Around us, only blooming windflowers.

"Enough for today ... Let’s go back ... I have to be home early", she said. “Next time we’re here, I’ll make a wreath from windflowers. Will you place it on my head?”

“Promise me that I will see you again, that they’re not going to bend you.”

 “We will come here again”, she promised, “I swear to you that we’ll come back…”

December 6 th 1918

Running to Ann - Illustration

The damned pains never go away. The doctors ordered me to rest. What was I saying? Oh yes! One day my mother asked me to go on a trip. It took me a while to figure out why. It was the period when Ann was supposed to get married. Don’t blame her…

She died two years after the wedding. She started losing weight. Her husband said that she wasn’t listening to anyone, nor was she being cautious. The doctors had told them that she shouldn’t get pregnant. She died before she could breastfeed her child.

When I came back from the trip I stayed indoors for a year without any contact with anybody. My hair and beard had grown to chest length. The only company I wanted was that of Amelia. Ann was sick but still alive then. One afternoon in 1909 I heard knocks on the door.

“Open up! It’s me, Amelia!”

I ran downstairs and almost grabbed her from the neck.

“What happened? Is she dead? Tell me!” I asked while shaking her. Her eyes were red.

“Listen to me! You have to come with me right now. She wants to see you.”

Amelia told me she had been asking for me, especially at nighttime. And she kept saying she wanted windflowers. But only today did her husband let her tell me. Today, because the doctors said the end was very near. He wasn’t at home. He had purposely left so that we wouldn’t meet.

The first thought that came to my mind was that I hadn’t even once seen her after her marriage. I couldn’t think of anything else. We waited till nightfall. Their house was one of the finest mansions in the state. We entered and went straight to her room. She sat raised on her bed. Only the sweetness was left to her otherwise withered face. She was dressed in a silk robe and had selected her favorite hairstyle. The first word she uttered was my name. She smiled, expressing as much happiness her face could still express. She stretched out her hand. I took it in mine and started kissing it.

Dienach and Ann - Illustration

“You came, Paul! You came!” I’m so glad you came! It’s good to see you one last time, now that the end is near…And since my husband allowed it…”

I knelt down beside her bed and asked her to stop. I told her she’d get better and everything would be ok. She kept pulling my hand towards her pale face and lips and sighed as if relieved.

“The last time you saw her”, said Amelia, “when she swore she would come back, she really believed she could…” Ann was nodding in agreement. “But then life happened and she couldn’t. That’s been a burden in her soul since then and thus she asks you to forgive her…”

I forgave her with all my heart, I kissed her hair just like I used to, and suddenly her face lit up with pleasure.

We let her rest for quite a while and then she told me: “When I’m gone, I want you to visit our hill once in a while. The trees and grass might have something to share with you. Do not forget me. If you stay true to our love and don’t forsake me, I’ll never leave you alone. I’ll be right by your side Paul… by your side and my child’s. Whenever you need me I’ll be there…”

Closing the door - Illustration

I escorted Amelia to her house and then went back to mine at midnight overwhelmed by a strange mixture of pain and happiness. “What is this?” I wondered, “Why do I feel so confident that I will see her again?”

On Wednesday night I saw her, on Sunday she was dead.

Chronicles from the Future  is now available in Kindle or paperback format through  Amazon.

All images and content copyright Achilleas Syrigos. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be republished.

Comments

What time will this be updated? I'm ready for the 3rd installment.

You know what's gong to happen? Right at the good part we'll be told how to buy the book and the installments will stop.

True! But it will work for me. Damn!

Others call it marketing. :-)

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