|Source: Not Paris|
I'm taking a writing course via the public library. I'm enjoying it so far. Since I haven't yet moved camera pictures to the computer, and therefore have nothing else to post about, I thought I'd share my first writing assignment for the course. I had to write a 300-word story, using one of about 5 first lines as a prompt. I ended up writing over 400 words, and was only able to pare it back to 327, which is a first for me! Usually I struggle to make the minimum word count. Caveat: I know next to nothing about the specifics of WWII. But I do know there was some bombing in Paris in 1940, as well as in 1944, thanks to my good friend, Google.
Looking at Paris in this light, with the eastern sun illuminating the devastation of the night’s bombing, I struggle to see the city’s legendary romance. Whatever charm there once was in this city of lights hidden in the rubble. Yet despite the evidence before my eyes, I know that somewhere in the dawning day, there is still hope instead of despair, there is still life instead of death, there is still laughter instead of this awful, unmoving silence.
How did I end up in Paris at the start of the war? With a little too much pocket money and a summer to enjoy before continuing medical school, I jaunted over the Atlantic to see the great European art and architecture. Now I volunteer with the French army and see more death and tragedy than I would have ever seen in my entire medical training.
“Charlie! Over here!” I turn toward the sound of my name. Rene, a fellow medic, waves and I jog toward him. His customary cheerful expression is displaced by a look of despair that I try not to mirror. I cling to my optimism, my hope, even as we move out of the sun into a dim and dusty old half-collapsed building.
Rene leads the way. “He’s big—I can’t get him out on my own.” We descend a few steps and move into a back room. In the corner lies a Frenchman, his arm pinned by a beam. He moans loudly as we lift the wood off him. It is too dangerous to remain here to see to his wounds.
“Ready?” I glance at Rene, who has grasped the man’s legs in preparation to lift him. He nods. I grip the man securely under his arms, brace my legs, and lift. Half dragging, half carrying, we move him outside. As we lay him on the pavement, the building shudders, then caves on itself in a cloud of dust and debris.