If I Survive

30th of April 1915

Days like this are days when we try to blur the memories of death. But we will never forget them as the horrifying reality of war scars us mentally and physically. We do lots of things during our time of rest. I liked to play soccer with a bloke named Carl Thompson. He reckoned he was the best player there is. I loved watching him rage when my team beat his 10-4 and he started swearing his head off! One time he got so mad that he threw my cigars in the lake. 

He got a black eye for that. 

Never touch a man’s cigars. 

I’m surprised to say that I miss him, I saw his head blown off during battle. 

Well, he swore a lot, so it was bound to happen.

God, I’m turning insane. 

We play a lot of card games out here. Josh is the champion at pontoon. Some of the guys think he’s a cheat but I reckon it’s just luck. One evening when Josh was digging trenches, the boys stole his deck of cards thinking it would make them win. What a bunch of idiots. 

It reeks in these trenches. Half the time there are soulless bodies lying around and men with infected feet limping about. One of my mates had trench foot so bad that they had to amputate his foot! At night he still cries out in pain. I think that it would have been best if he’d died in battle.

My mate Louis sends countless love letters to his secret lover back home. Their families are extremely religious and believe that if you’re younger than 23 ‘you cannot fall in love’.

I think their love is real.

I’ve peeped at some of their letters and, boy, is he lovestruck. “My darling Sandra, your smile keeps a hopeless man like me bubbling on the battlefield.”

“Louis, I love you like a man loves his cigars. If anyone even scratches you, I’ll gouge their eyes out!.” She’s very intense but I guess that’s his type. 

I’ve never had a lover. 

I used to like the girls that hung around the gas stations at night.

They didn’t mind my lazy right eye so long as I bought them booze. 

Mum hated that I stayed out late and dad beat me when she told him.

Ah, the good old days.

I think my type will become a girl who can hold me through the night as I cry from the torturous scenes of the battlefield.

If I survive this, I will marry a beautiful Australian girl, have three kids and live in a huge house up in the mountains. 

But

That’s if I survive. 

 

These stories were written in our Factory Feedback program, which was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.