Page 1 of Chapter one. Marita staggered. Extreme exhaustion caused her to slump against the rail of the ship Tina-Rae. The last few weeks had taken such a heavy toll on her both physically and emotionally that it didn’t even lift her spirits when a group beside her began to sing “The
White Cliffs of Dover” as a tribute to their homeland. The thick gloomy fog thinned, revealing the white chalk cliffs of Dover rearing up in all their splendor next to the choppy ocean. Visages of final moments with her mother stained her cheeks.
‘Get out of my life! You are good for nothing!’ Her mother’s harsh shriek rang in her ears, crushing her spirit. Marita’s blue-gray eyes burned with unshed tears.
Am I good for nothing, she mutely asked the wisps of fog floating by? If I am, then why in the world, was I born? If my heart were any heavier it
would sink like a stone in this vast gray expanse of ocean. She hated the thought of anyone seeing her crying so bit her lip to steady
it. The memories of her mother, Mrs. Parson’s, raging voice were harder to still.
“We taught you not to go to the bar! We told you not to get involved with those drunken Canadian soldiers!”
“But it wasn't a bar!” Marita had protested. “It was at the community center and most of the soldiers drank very moderately.” It was hopeless trying to reason with her mother’s rigid back turned towards her, so Marita had faced the moisture streaked kitchen
window instead. She had stared unseeingly into the darkness to hide the teardrops that managed to trickle out between half-closed
Marita had always been known as a quiet, respectable girl. Yet she could clearly remember how enchanting it had been when
they first met the soldiers. They, especially the auburn haired one, looked so sharp in his crisp, khaki uniform. She and Betsy Lynn,
had been walking home from school, arms laden with books. The sky had been such a bright pretty blue which felt like a luxury
after so much rain and fog. School would soon be out for the year, and they were feeling totally carefree.
Then, stepping smartly, two soldiers pivoted around the corner,saluted, and offered to carry their books. What could have been
more flattering? Marita had often marveled at how easy it had been to chat with those two good-looking soldiers with intriguing
Canadian accents. She, who was normally so reserved, had actually bantered and giggled with them in a way which would have
astonished the school master, and probably most of the scholars. Almost without noticing, their feet had carried them far
beyond the Parson’s street. Flustered, she had tried to take her books away from her companion, Randall Smith, but he just held
“Not unless you come with me to the dance tonight,” he teased with an easy grin.
Marita felt the color drain from her cheeks. A dance? I've never gone to a dance in my life! Dances are wicked! I know that. It’s not
dancing that’s tempting me, though, but Randall! There is something altogether delightful about this good looking stranger. We wouldn’t
have to dance, would we? Maybe we could just… stroll around in th moonlight like they do in storybooks. And maybe we could, uhh, just
sit and visit or something.
Looking back, Marita knew that it was then that the first pang of uneasiness smote her, but she had been too busy laughing at
Randall and the other private’s nonsense to pay much attention.