Challenge: As a writer, you draw inspiration from the familiar world around you. You observe and take note of details which your imagination weaves into the fabric of your work. Your time and place in the universe has a great deal to do with how you see the world. Picture yourself in another time; another place. You’re not a hero or a villain or an important historical personage, you’re you. Tell us a story that you observe – a vignette from the life happening around you; an event important only to its participants.
I hope this missive finds you in fine health. From what I hear, I may be home in time for harvest. Did Lee really surrender? We hear so many rumors here in Washington, that it is hard to distinguish the truth from the “wishes.” I have been working very hard, and Miss Clara says that if I keep up the good work I could have a career in a real hospital after the war. I don’t know about that, dear Mama, as I have no real desire to hold a man’s leg while it is sawed off by a rusty saw ever again once this is over.
I think I would much prefer to settle down and raise a family, and sleep. I have never been so bone tired as I am right now. I can barely keep my eyes open, penning this, but I don’t know when I will get another opportunity to use the one ink well we have here in the infirmary.
I have written letters to the wives and Mothers of the soldiers , and Mama, it makes me so sad that many of them will be the last letter they will receive from those brave boys. I have to admit, I feel guilty using this ink, but I know you worry so. Miss Clara says it is a blessing that I can read and write, as so many of us cannot. For that I thank you for insisting to Father that I had lessons. I know it was a hardship on you both.
Today I sat with a boy no older than 12 who took a load of lead to his belly. He is hanging on, but so scared. His Captain’s only concern is that he get back to his duties as soon as possible..That child should be out fishing somewhere, not battling for his life in this tent. If you could hear his screams when they put the sulfer in his wounds, you would cry as I do, in private, of course. It just wouldn’t do to let them know that I am just as scared as they are. It is just not fair.
Miss Clara says I have a strong stomach, but I disagree. If truth be told, the only reason I do not wretch at the sight of some of these wounds is that there is nothing to wretch. Most of us nurses only eat supper these days when there is enough food to feed the soldiers first. We find they heal quicker when they eat every day. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not, as many of them return with wounds more greivous than the last. There is only so much we can do, but the Lord brought them to us alive, and our objective is to keep them that way. Miss Clara says it is not our place to question the Lord’s will. Will I be forever damned for doing so?
I will close now, as I desire to get a few hours sleep before the dawn, which is coming soon. Today is my day to change bandages. I pray I can keep the fear out of my eyes, or at least the tears until I complete my task.
Hoping to see you soon,