Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sunday 20th June 1943

William and I took our usual stroll last night, down the track to the cross roads, where we sit on a patch of grass in the centre of the groves. But the track led us past ward 37, and there we saw John Store, hanging on the bars, crying out to us.
Of course, we had to go across to him, but it was ghastly and upset us both.
He was crying out pathetically, quite distraught, all barriers of reserve and courage gone. The door of a padded cell stood open beside him and he sobbed out that they were going to put him in there and he would die tonight all alone. In another room they had a table ready, to lay him out afterwards... It was frightful to listen to him.

He mustered up a spark of bravado when we left, for I told him – quite truly – that people around the hospital were saying to Bill and I, “Only two of you? Where is the third musketeer?” “Oh, they're saying that, are they?” shouted Store, as we climbed back through the barbed wire, “Well, you tell them the third musketeer will soon be back, see!”

We tried to forget it when we were sitting smoking at the cross roads, later, in the dusk. (branches of trees in silhouette against a twilight sky, windless and still). But as we returned, we heard John screaming dismally in the padded cell. “Aaaah! Let me out, let me out! Don't let me die alone! Let me out!” It was hours before either of us slept. Several times I went to the door of the ward to listen. But, thank God, all was silent except for an Arab voice singing most mournfully in the orange groves.

We were weighed again and I scaled 151 pounds. This is the first time I have turned the corner, first time there has been an increase. I want to slowly put on about 20 lbs. and then I shall be back where I was.

Spoke to John this afternoon; he was sitting in the garden of ward 37, with an orderly and seemed a good deal more composed.

Yes, I'm very happy today (although the water was turned off at the main just after I had laboriously procured 60 yards of hose and fixed one end on the ward tap!)
Letter writing is such a task usually, but this afternoon I wrote nine pages to April without effort; I could hardly write fast enough. It was a good letter too. There was nothing in it about neurosis; it was the sort of letter that might make her be happy a bit, and laugh.

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