Sarah stood at the mantle, twirling her engagement ring
her thoughts lost in the flames, it was now eighteen days
yet no word had come, she reminisced about their plans
before duty had called him away, though he spoke nothing
of danger, she saw it in his face, this mission had the power
to leave their dreams in ashes.
They had met on a crowed, windswept shore, where she gathered
shells, she stood with her arms laden down, passing by he brushed
against her causing her to lose her grip, shells toppling into a heap
embarrassed, he was quick to apologize, as he stooped down to help
pick up the shells and the fragments of broken pieces, their eyes
met, never had he looked into more beautiful blue eyes, yet there
was a hint of loneliness inside them.
Sarah was sure he could hear her heart pounding, as their
hands touched, he gently helped her to her feet, his mind
raced to find a way to see her again, the wind tossed
her long chestnut hair, perfectly framing a heart shaped
face, her skin tinged pink by the sun, she smoothed her
hair back, trying to compose herself and was about to bid
He quickly insisted as he had caused her to break
some of her lovely shells, it would only be fitting
to come back the next day and help her gather again
she weakly protested, sensing he would insist, never had
She met a man so handsome, with such broad shoulders
and eyes, like dark pools of sparkling water.
Sleep refused Andrew that night, every time he closed
his eyes he was looking into Sarahs, feeling the brief
touch of her soft hand, wondering, hoping, she would
come, troubled by the thought, perhaps she may not.
In all of her nineteen years, she had never felt an attraction
such as this to any man, it troubled, yet tantalized her, she
rehearsed in the mirror what her demeanor should be, what
dress she should wear, should she pull her hair back with
a ribbon, the birds were singing when she finally fell asleep.
Both arrived early to the shore that next afternoon, trying not
to show their excitement at seeing one another again but the
attraction was undeniable, few shells were gathered as their
minds and hearts intertwined, they became inseparable, falling
deeply in love.
The chill in the room finally brought her back from her
thoughts, the fire had burned out, she climbed the stairs and
fell into an exhausted sleep after praying long into the night
God was no stranger to her, she had been raised in the faith
and had put her trust in the Lord as a child, she recited
scriptures of faith over and over in her mind.
She had worked and trained in the infirmary since the age
of Sixteen when her Father had taken ill and could no longer
work, her Sister, who adored children, took a position as a Nanny
for a prominent family in town, there was just her and Mother
in a quiet house after her beloved Father slipped away.
Her Mother made beautiful quilts and sold them to help meet
their financial needs, she sewed from first light each morning
until the lamps were lit at night, stitching all the love she had
given her Husband, into every quilt, though she knew her
Mother loved her, the loss of her beloved Father weighed
heavy in her heart.
Time was agonizingly slow, it seemed the hands on the clock
wasn't moving at all, she knew she had to do something to
take her mind off Andrew, she asked to work more hours at the
Infirmary and was given Ten more hours each week, she was
bone tired by Saturday afternoon but was able at least, to fall into
an exhausted sleep without tossing about the entire night, she
was grateful for this.
Months came and went, still no word had come, she contacted all the
officials in the war department, then the day came, a knock on the
door brought her world crashing down, no more hoping or pretending
she was given the news no loved one wants to hear, we regret to
inform you, Sergent Andrew Collins had been on a high security
mission, at the end of which, he was declared missing in action.
Sorrow took its toll on Sarah, she became thin and withdrew from
all social functions, Attending Sunday service didn't hold the joy it once
did, she began to question her faith only to ask Gods forgiveness time
and again, she threw herself into work at the infirmary, every Soldier
she cared for was a painful reminder of Andrew, most of them would
recover, some minus a limb, some an eye, others were less fortunate
she would have gladly welcomed Andrew with any disability, but, only
her memories and one picture of him remained.
Springs fresh rebirth with its lush foliage and array of beautiful blooming
trees and flowers turned to summer without Sarah's notice, a chill in the air
signaled autumns arrival, the red and gold leaves tumbled to the ground
all the splendor of the passing seasons were lost on Sarah's eyes, winter
dawned cold and colorless, the same way Sarah's heart felt.
If any bit of the old Sarah remained it was her dedication to her patients
she did whatever she could to make them as comfortable as possible, to
help them get their minds away from the nightmare of war, she began
working with the Infirmary's new psychologist who had been hired to
help the soldiers transition back into civilian life.
Just before Christmas Sarah was asked to visit with a new patient who had
been transferred to the Infirmary for psychological evaluation because of
amnesia, it was believed he had been a prisoner of war who had escaped
an enemy camp and was rescued by allied forces, no Identification had been
found on him, the only things he had were his ragged clothes and a little
wood carving, that he held to feverishly.
The next day dawned with a blanket of snow covering everything, Sarah
wasn't feeling very well, she thought about just going back to bed then
she remembered she had said she would visit the new patient at the
Infirmary that day, she drank a cup of hot tea took two aspirins, pulled
On her boots and went to work, by the time she got there she was
feeling worse, she wished she had taken the day off and stayed in bed.
She decided to visit the new patient who was called " James" then go home
the shades were drawn in his room, she pulled a chair up next to his bed
introduced herself simply as his nurse, she spoke softly, saying she wanted to
talk with him, there was no reply but gut-wrenching sobs began, sobs that shook
his entire body, she took hold of his hand, trying to calm him, he jerked his
hand away, she reached for it again determined to calm this poor man, still
he refused to open his hand.
Sarah left his room feeling shook to her core, she felt so sad for him but at
least she felt something, even if it were more sorrow, this time for a stranger
she went home and curled into a ball on her bed, sometime that evening her
Mother came in with toast and tea and refused to leave until she ate it, after
sleeping so many hours she felt better by the next morning, she left for work
ready to renew her efforts with "James" her heart cringed at the thought of
finding him sobbing again, the curtains were drawn once again, she pulled up
the chair to his bedside and began to speak to him, this time he began to
cry softly, and again she hesitantly reached for his hand.
This time he took something he had grasped in his hand and placed it in hers
she went to the window and pulled back the curtain letting in a bit of light, she
gazed down at the wooden object, she looked closer as he continued to weep
she saw a meticulously carved sea shell, her heart nearly leaped from her chest
she threw open the curtains and ran to his bed peering into Andrews beloved
face, time and circumstance had taken a toll on him but it was Andrew, her
beloved, she cradled him in her arms and wept with him.
Somehow he had recognized her voice although he couldn't say it, she lavished
him with her nursing skills and her love, Spring had arrived and with it more
beauty than Sarah had ever seen, although Andrew was growing stronger physically
still, he hadn't really remembered that she was Sarah, his intended, the next day was
warm and sunny, Sarah decided to take him to the oceanside, there were but a few
people there, as they walked Sarah noticed a beautiful seashell, she picked it up
and placed it into Andrews' hand, just then the wind caught her hair and tossed it
around her face, a look of utter disbelief crossed his face, he gazed at the shell and
back at her.
Recognition finally came into his beautiful dark eyes, eyes Sarah had longed to see so
many, many times, they fell to their knees sobbing in each other's arms, unashamed
unaware as a passerby watched their reunion unfold, it was the happiest day of both
their lives, they were a living testament, with God, Nothing is impossible.