Mornington-By-Mere – (56) Soldier Wood (Part 01)
There was a military funeral in the quaint chocolate box English Village of Mornington-By-Mere when the beating heart of the Finchbottom Vale fell silent with sombre respect.
The funeral was for Private Andy Smith of the Downshire Light Infantry who was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.
The funeral and the memorial service were both well attended as Andy was a popular lad in the village and everyone had a tale to tell about him.
The Smith clan were tenants at Smithfield Farm and had been for as long as anyone could remember and everyone expected Andy to take his place on the land but he surprised everyone when he chose the army instead.
David Cooper was also a local lad and he and Andy had been good friends since pre-school so his death had hit him particularly hard.
In fact he was finding the whole day a bit of an ordeal, so he was trying to slip away unnoticed from the church and had got as far as the carpark when a voice said
“As you were, Mr Cooper”
“I recognise that voice” he thought to himself so he stopped and slowly turned around.
“Sharon” he said, “I thought I recognised you earlier,”
Sharon Taylor was his ex-girlfriend and she was wearing the dress uniform of The Downshire Light Infantry and he hadn’t seen her since the previous November when she was posted to Afghanistan, she too was a local and was also a friend of Andy and they even joined up together.
Her insistence on joining the Army was what had broken her and David up, the fear of losing her in some stupid pointless foreign conflict was too much for him to bear.
But even though they were no longer a couple every time there was a news report about Afghanistan his blood ran cold, because he still loved her, but she was back and she was safe.
“When did you get back?” he asked and kissed her cheek
“A couple of days ago” she replied
“It’s great to see you back safe,” David said
There was an indeterminate period when they just stood looking at each other as they remembered the last time they were together and he wanted to say how much he had missed her and how much he wanted her back, but the words wouldn’t come.
There was a quiet cough from behind her and when she turned around she saw it was another soldier.
“I have to go” she said
“Ok, I…” He began
“I’m flag bearer at tonight’s church service at St Winifred’s, then I’m off duty,” Sharon said
“I’ll see you afterwards then?” he asked
She nodded and walked smartly away, and he thought to himself that although he was completely against her joining up she really did look great in the uniform.
He attended the service and then waited for Sharon outside the church hoping she wouldn’t change into civvies before she met him.
He was sure it wasn’t just a man thing, after all women go mad for firemen, so he knew it couldn’t just be him that thought birds in uniforms were Phwoah.
When she came out he kissed her cheek and they walked across to the Old Mill and he was pleased to note that Sharon was still wearing her dress uniform and she looked great in the tailored skirt and tunic, brass buttons and polished belt, peaked cap and seamed stockings.
But what made Sharon even sexier than the uniform was the fact that he knew what was underneath it and of course because he loved her desperately.
They walked into the pub and he ordered drinks and they sat in a quiet corner and she talked about her tour of duty, at least as much as she could, and he just listened while she unloaded, then of course they talked about Andy and they reminisced about all the time they had spent together and when they reached a natural conclusion and they both fell silent he asked.
“How long are you home for?”
“Until Tuesday” she replied and his heart sank