I hope this finds you | Suchismita Choudhury

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I hope this finds you.... Yours' truly


I lay there for four years with my lifeless body counting my breaths, patiently waiting for death. I couldn’t feel the nurse’s touch when she gave me a sponge bath every 4 days, the thumping of my chest with every breath, the taste of the grain that I refrained from eating, and the breeze that slowly blew across my face; although I could hear it whistle. My beating heart and my vision wide awake were alibi to the little life I had left in me. While I laid on my iron cold bed, sometimes covered in my own filth I would lucid dream of being with Margaret and the Buckingham Palace, the only two places I loved.


I was a soldier in the British Army, and came to Berlin before Princess Elizabeth sat on the throne to take charge as the Queen. It was during the Great War when her uncle was our beloved Monarch. Our King had friendly relations with Hitler, he couldn’t have anticipated the man to be the savage he turned out to be. I was a trusted man of the King, he sent me with a Peace Treaty he had to offer Adolf Hitler that accedes to the inhumane propaganda he had on his mind, provided he protected the British Royal Family and his monarchy. I was not aware that I was carrying a lethal document that consented to the death of millions to protect the crown over his head.

I was accompanied by five other men and all of them were as clueless as I was. Mr. Gunter Hildegard had set up a meeting with Hitler in the Nazi camp. Apparently, Hitler was busy sadistically killing people and couldn’t make it to the meeting, which was rescheduled after a few days. Every night we would hear souls shifting bodies while thousands were dying on the battlefield, there were hundreds being born in the torture camps. Soon,we heard that King Edward VIII renounced his throne after marrying an American divorcee. The throne was taken over by his younger brother who was not aware of our whereabouts and our Prime Minister Winston Churchill too busy to let him know.



The war seemed never-ending and the Nazi camps were full of unidentified bones and skeletons. The bodies piled up like mattresses for Hitler to sleep on. The Americans were ready to attack Hitler by bringing in troops of millions to end the barbarous reign. It was a ruthlessly cold winter morning in Berlin, everything was calm and quiet like the deafening silence before the storm. I was walking carefree or careless of my surroundings, around the camp thinking of my little girl Margaret, it was the 10th of July, her 16th birthday. Suddenly, I heard a blast a few miles away. I was taken aback, even though I knew I was walking leisurely in a war zone in a nation unknown. I should’ve been more careful but I was carefree or couldn't care less, could a word have two opposites? All I wanted was a calming walk around the camp reminiscing the memories I had of my sweet child.


The blast was followed by a consistent series of blasts one of which knocked me down and I laid there unconscious with my child’s face lingering in my subconscious mind. I woke up a few months later, in a rustic room near a window on an iron bed with burns all over my body. I couldn’t move an inch, only my eyes turned from left, to right, and center giving me the peripheral vision of the hollow room.


I was greeted by a nurse dressed in white with the Nazi logo on her left arm, a little chubby with red cheeks, her eyes twinkled when she saw me conscious, her smile was like Margaret’s with an extra set of canines, I couldn’t feel her touch but I know it was full of care. She told me there was no low-down that contained information about me but she chose to take care of me regardless. I couldn’t show my gratitude but I was grateful that I was breathing and my heart was beating. I laid there days after days watching time go abysmal into nothingness. Burning in the agony of my disability, wanting to go home to my child who must be waiting for my arrival sitting on the porch of our humble abode.


I could hear distant sounds of blasts and gunshots reminding me of people whose suffering was not yet over. I wish to comfort them and tell them that I was one of their own, that I knew how it felt when your skin burnt till your bones cracked, the feeling of being lifeless and not dead. I felt nothing but a body sucking up air leaving less for the ones who need it. 4 years had passed and my body still felt lifeless. Every fourth-hour nurse would come to feed me. I would make a fuss cause in my mundane life it was the only activity I looked forward to or rather was capable of doing.


The nurse walked in with a sponge and a bucket of steaming water, squeezing the hot water on my back rubbing it gently around my wounds, I lay there with my bare body with only little skin to cover my bones, my paralyzed body incapacitated and immobilized moved without me knowing it when the nurse told me about a letter she received with my name on it. I looked at her hoping my plain stare would convey my excitement. She rubbed my wet body with a towel, she put me down and opened the envelope and started reading…


“Dear Father,


I received this address from Lieutenant Conrad, when he came to pay his respects to the Martyrs of Britain who sacrificed their lives to uphold the meronym of the Royal Family in the Great War. He told me there were no records that proved you were dead and I know it in my heart you are not. Father, you are a survivor, a fighter, a winner, a prudent and a soft-hearted man with arms of steel. I turned 20 today, family, friends, and acquaintances tell me I remind them of you. The way I look, I talk, I smile, and my sense of humor is “exactly like Andrew's” they say, and my heart summersaults because being like you would be my biggest achievement; a trophy I would showcase to the world without a pinch of modesty.


Father, I know you are my knight in shining armor. You wage a war every day, sometimes you win, sometimes you fail inevitably but you always survive anyway. Know that I am aware of your fights and sacrifices I wish I could break the walls and build bridges to help you walk through life seamlessly and effortlessly just how you did it for me when you were around. Now when you are gone I have clenched to your words and memories the way I clenched on to your finger when I took my first step in this world. They have been my protector, my guiding force, my inspiration, and my motivation. To me father, you are boundless, enormous, and charismatic despite your rags or riches.


I have a sense of pride knowing that my veins have your passion and blood running through them and every cell in my body knows of your name, father wherever you are, know that you are present in me. I have been working with BBC as a junior reporter and my zeal to excel shows me the glimpses of you that I didn’t know I even had in me. When you left me behind after a kiss on my forehead I didn’t wash it for days keeping your essence safe I was unaware that I had you running through me, and I am grateful to you with every inch of my being for that’s is the greatest boon and the legacy you left for me.


I am still the same father, your clumsy little girl who still can’t walk in a straight line without falling. But you taught me well now I know, I have to get up, rub the dust off, and walk again with my head held high. My curly hair has grown and if you wish to know I haven’t gotten your height but your pride is all mine. I still have the deformed nose you loved, it hasn’t grown cause I don't tell lies, I still wear the ugly fuzzy pajama that you got me when you were in Buckingham, cause it reminds me of you and it feels like your hug. I walk through the corridors of the house revisiting the days how you would slurp imaginary noodles I made in my dollhouse pretending it to be the best you’ve tasted. How you would sing me to sleep in your flat note signing enough to make my ears bleed swinging me from left to right, I remember.


I remember the long walks in the morning when you would take me to see the sunrise and ask me to exercise cause you are all about principles and discipline. I hear the sound of your voice and your laughs echo in my heart. I realized home was never these four walls, home is where you are. Don’t worry I haven’t found a man good enough to treat me like a princess the way you did, but yes, I am on the hunt. Life without you feels like a man without a spine, it is incomplete and difficult to survive, but not impossible. I have learned to endure pain because it is important to sustain you'd say.


Keeping your memories locked in the treasure box of my heart, safe and sound. I hope this letter finds a way to you. If it doesn’t, I know I have conveyed my feelings for you father, and the universe will find its way to tell you, that the hope of finding you still lingers in me after all these years and that I love you.


Yours' truly,

loving daughter,


Margaret”


The nurse was weeping and sobbing. A tear rolled down my eyes and my heart was filled with pride and joy. My dear daughter,in this lifeless state,in an unknown land, you made me feel alive.