He was a man who fought in the great war, barely surviving the last battle he was forced into. A little hopeless, he felt, as the war has been going on for four years but without the end in sight.
Hardly recognizing whether it was still summer or autumn has arrived, he could not understand whether his eyesight was already impaired or if he has lost touch with reality.
Looking down from the window of his bedroom, he felt it was a little bit cooler than the usual September day and saw the color of the leaves looking more auburn than green but, despite his senses telling him, he still couldn’t figure out. He pondered, he must’ve lost a bit of his sobriety.
He went downstairs, but moving very slowly, with each step hurting.
“So nice to see you, Wilhelm. Finally, you’ve woken up from slumber.”
It was Madeline, his mother, smiling.
“I prepared you a sandwich and a tea. I’m glad you’re home.”
“Thanks, ma. But what day is it?”
“Oh…,” Madeline realizing her son could no longer recognize what part of the year it was. “It’s your birthday, son, September 22nd, so there’s a turkey waiting for dinner.”
Madeline hugged her long-gone son while controlling her tears from falling. She was happy, and it all mattered to her at the moment, regardless of whether the war was over or not.
“But, ma, why can’t I see people walking in the neighborhood?”
It was a long pause until Madeline answered…
“Hmmm… perhaps our neighbors are busy but don’t you think about it. What matters is, it’s your birthday and you’re finally home. And you will savor the delicacies your sister and I cooked for your birthday,” gleefully Madeline spoke.
“Splendid,” all said Wilhelm, known in the family as a man of few spoken words.
The day turned well for Wilhelm and his family. But as he was about to sleep later, he was bothered by his thoughts – the blood, the explosions, the mud, and all the things he could remember about the last battle.
He walked around their house, looking for something that could take his mind away from everything terrible about the war. His first step on the ground floor was the same moment he saw the daily broadsheet on the roundtable. As fast as he could, though his left foot still hurts, he grabbed it. His curiosity made him very eager.
“King Alfonso XIII recovering from influenza”
“Twenty more people died of flu in Malaga, Spain”
“Fifty-five dead in Oviedo in a single day on the same cause: flu”
“I know Oviedo is in Spain,” thought Wilhelm, and “Alfonso XIII is the Spanish king.” He flipped the pages to read what is going on in the kingdom just across Pyrenees. Their neighborhood is not so far, and they speak the same language as Basque Country.
Spain was neutral in both world wars so reading multitudes of people dead despite the absence of any form of armed conflicts in that nation made Wilhelm feel very drowsy.
He couldn’t wait for his feet to bring him back to his bedroom so he fell into the sofa. Snuggling the closest pillow he could grab, he immediately lost consciousness, tumbling into the dreamworld.
^^It might dig deep into the horrors of WW1, that I'm not yet sure... coz as you can see, it begins in September 1918, towards the end of the war. There are a few things I'm sure of though but I still don't know the outcome of this story. I want to be surprised myself...