"Take away our love and the Earth is our tomb"
The Daisy Chain
A bouquet of daisies were grasped in Alice’s withered hand. A hand that was decorated with nought but a tired worn wedding ring and the intertwined fingers of Burt. He was her beloved husband of eighty years.
They had put on their very best Sunday clothes and set out to journey together into a shared past.
They laid a daisy at the step of the Sunday school hall which still stood after all this time. Burt smiled as he remembered how he had travelled for four hours from his farm to attend the Spring Fling Dance. He spent an hour watching his mates dance with girl after girl.
He was just about to give up and start for home when he felt a hand on his arm. He looked up to see a girl made of sunshine and peaches with dancing cornflower blue eyes, “Hello, Handsome are you going to spend the night holding up that wall or are you going to give me a turn of the dance floor?”
He shrugged. His tongue was tied in knots as he stared at the face of this lovely girl. He had only spoken to grown married women or little girls before. This devine creature was a terrifying new development. He wanted to talk, but only meaningless grunts had come out. She looked at his blushed face with understanding, “You don’t know how to dance do you?” He shook his head silently. She then took him by his strong calloused hand and let him outside beneath the gum tree.
There, under the bright stars of the bush sky, she withstood his clumsy feet. Together they waltzed to the music of the wind brushing the gum leaves. He knew that he would spend his life dancing with her. He bent his head and kissed her strawberry lips nervously. During this kiss there was electricity and passion that was conveyed in their warm ragged breaths. They were both awestruck as they felt the force of destiny bind them together, forever.
The second flower was laid at Hills' Machine Works where Alice had worked as a quality controller during World War Two. Burt had come home in his uniform. He was adorned with emu plumes on his slouched hat. He shakily told his new bride that the time had come for him to serve his country. Alice's heart had simultanously swollen with pride and shattered with worry.
After she had packed his lunch, Alice walked hand in hand with her husband to the train station. During the whole journey she held back her unworthy tears. They then embraced on the platform and kissed with tear drenched lips. They tasted each other’s soul. That last kiss was to carry them through the four long years to come.
Alice volunteered at Hills' Machine Works the very next day. From the moment it opened to the second they shut the iron gates, she had worked without pause. She barely spoke to her co-workers. As soon as the starting whistle blew Alice would be standing there ready to go. She was always the last worker to leave and she almost never took a break.
Alice would crawl home at the end of each day, check her letter box to see if Burt had written and then collapse into their marriage bed. Never once did she stray from her side of the bed. She left that part of the bed for her husband to return to.
One of the ladies, Molly Tanner, said to her, “For Pete’s sake Alice drink a cuppa, you’re making the rest of us look bad.” The large lady looked at the young Alice with an expression that conveyed her sympathy and concern. Molly held out the chipped cup full of luke warm tea.
Alice glanced quickly at the older woman with tears in her eyes and replied, “What if I have a cup of tea and there is one less box of bullets made, or a bad bullet gets through and it blows up in the face of the soldier? What if my Burt is facing the enemy without a working bullet and dies? This is all I can do to help him and while there is breath in my body, I will make bullets. I will check each and every one. I will, I swear to God, ensure that not one of my bullets will fail my husband or your's”
Molly then tipped the tea out. She put the cup down on a nearby bench and put her hands on her hips. Then she said, “Well, let’s get back to it and stop wasting time flapping our gums.”