1918 . July , 28th.
The national edition of “ la provincial “ , headlined a huge:
“ war “ on his first page.
A huge crowd gathered together in the main square of that little town hidden in the middle of the province of Navarra.
- What is the official statement of the royal government for this war ¿ - they were asking the newspaper seller, whose newsstand was exactly behind the chorus wooden platform.
- We have to wait - said Ernesto , the seller – it should have been released by now.
So, the people stayed there.
Fighting for news, in the heat of a summer afternoon.
Suddenly, a megaphone installed in the middle of the square, started to buzz.
“ .. Unfortunately, there is a state of war between Austria, Hungary and Serbia [...] Her Majesty's Government believes in the duty of ordering the strictest neutrality to Spanish subjects …” said the official statement.
The people stayed silent, waiting for the final speech
“…therefore, his majesty is creatingathe “ European war office “ , in order to help our volunteers on joining the Foreign Legion, in the frontiers with France.
“ we need volunteers to go to the battalion in the frontier" – said the leaflet above the offices if the volunteering service, in front of the mayor building.
I realized that it should be something really exciting, especially for young and adventurous people like me, a young woman in her mid twenties the age of emotional thrills that used to rule my life.
So, I drove myself to the information desk.
I stood in a row of more than thirty people.
I had to wait a bit more, thinking about my destiny as a volunteer.
- Will I survive to all the war mess? - I asked to myself, a bit afraid about the non expected answer that I should get.
I was not married, had no children, and mo family, as I was an orphan.
Now , what am I gonna loose if I die ¿
Get the chance , you clumsy thing ¡
After more than an hour, my time for registration including relevant informations like blood type, and or the size for the uniform, paying fees and all that stuff was over
The fee included thermometer, cotton balls and bandage set.
I was going to have a fast free training in the volunteering tent, and I was ready to do soldierwork , that I could never imagine the much it would teach me a life lesson.
At that exactly moment, I saw a handsome , blue-eyed and blond man getting into the tent.
He was carrying papers, and a stethoscope.
- I bet he is the coach ¡ - I bet.
- Good afternoon to all brave young people that answered to our call …..
I think I did not listened to him.
He was so handsomely bright and gorgeous ¡
At the end of the speech, he left the tent, disappearing
And I went to the battalion, thinking that it would be nice to have him in.my battalion.
When I arrived there, surprise!
The coach was there, waiting at the entrance with some papers in his hand, waiting for all the new volunteers to arrive.
What’s your name? – he asked me, politely.
- Susan,Susan Brown – I answered, emotionally speaking.
- Yap! Get in.
- Thank you ¡
- You look familiar…Aren’t you the girlfriend of my boss, the korean guy ¿
- Korean guy ¿
- Yes! The best doctor that I have ever seen in my whole life ¡
- Sorry, but I am not.
- Well don’t worry. You are going to meet him, and you will give me the reason.
- I hope so ¡
- Fine. But call me Pete, I am Peter Tonk – and he offered me his hand to shake it, in a sign of friendship.
I shook his hand as well.
And went to the tent, where I had to start working.
- You bring water and plaster – I heard a voice telling me, just behind my haversack. .
Immediately! I told him, not knowing where to look for the water, and a volunteer with a busy look told me that he would find water in a turril, behind the tent.
And the plaster?
On that table, next to the suture material and put everything back in its place, the volunteer instructed me, whose face was covered with a sheet for one more death.
I took what he asked for to the boss.
You put two of plaster with one of water.
Like bread dough. Turn. Do not dry.
Well! You help lift leg. Do not move your leg. I turn the brush and you wet it with plaster.
And wet it, making the plaster drip.
I had my mind set on it, because I didn't want to make a fool of myself in front of my boss.
- Good! The boss said, putting his hand on my shoulders.
And I confess, I liked it.
The movement in that tent was constant.
Wounded soldier ! Wounded soldier ! .- the other volunteers shouted.
Those screams, that confusion, all that was what was heard the most in that tent, erected especially to attend to the soldiers.
After plastering, I went to wash my hand in the turril, thinking that:
First, save the volunteer s, and then, in that order, I had to save my superiors first if necessary, my teammates second, and finally myself.
And know that you are afraid.
And I hold onto my hand, with some plaster still on.
-Come on, let's take a volunteer . -Don't you help? He asked me.
-Of course I do! - Diverting the talk to the other side.
I looked at him carefully.
Don't be afraid! He said to me, and left the tent.
I imagined that he probably saw fear in my eyes, the normal thing in a war:
Fear, disgust, horror, fear, compassion, sadness, doubt and how much more it feels when your life hangs by a thread!
He went back into the tent, and his slanted eyes met mine.
You help! - he said, proving my innocent indifference.
A soldier was bleeding insistently, to which the witch chief decided to close the wound with stitches
Yes. You bring.
Happily, it was still on the table next to the cast.
After suturing, the surprisingly witch chief left all the dirty material behind.
He had to wash and clean with strong disinfectants, so as not to spread any contagious disease.
Now, you bring volunteer things.
It was the soldier's belongings: a bible, a stale bread, a handkerchief, a photo of a woman with a child on her skirt.
Will it be his family? his wife? your son?
Yes, the boss replied, even a witch.
Do you know them? - No.
I know, everything.
I looked into his eyes again.
You don't understand! He told me
It was true. I didn't understand it.
And that was the moment, when we just put the volunteer sitting on a chair to recover, the chief's shirt opened with the effort made.
- He's a man! I said
The boss more witch than ever, and reading my thoughts again, he laughed.
Ashamed, I went to help a volunteer who could not open the autoclave.On my return, I could see that the hair of the non-witch-but-god chief shone with the light of the flashes of the bombardment, his naturally yellow skin shone with the heat of more than forty degrees that it was in those places.
And also the please- but- don’t – miss the splendid half-open surgical pajamas that showed the splendor of his triangular thorax, I was struck by what, strangely, he stooped and smiled at each volunteer or soldier who passed by, many of them hiding in the trenches.
Good morning doctor, all the volunteers and nurses of the battalion greeted you.
- Your pajamas doctor..
- I know.
I'll close it! The blue-eyed, light-haired volunteer from the training offered offered, who recognized me but couldn't waste time with "a curmudgeon" like me - they won't believe me but that's how he told me I was in comparison to the other volunteers who
They scented themselves and gave him bread and jam, and he was also a real heartthrob for the volunteers.
You say. Have staff?
Not! We have two casualties and a volunteer who went to the west battalion.
You take care of soldiers from another batayon. We care here.
He also bent down and greeted him with the most open and frank smile I had ever seen in my life, while he wiped his hand of the blood that came out of it: a splinter from the last bombardment had grazed his hand, cutting it.
I clean his blood, I offered Samaritan with a piece of cotton and alcohol.
Grace, he said, looking deep into my eyes.
Bomb !, the volunteers shouted, - New bombardment!
Hide, everyone! The boss-boss shouted.
I was at his side.
That , was exactly what a truly friend would do.