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Pretty Girl - Short Story

By Austinjgrader1 May 16, 2013 1542 Words
Pretty Girl

Austin Grader
Year 11
2A/B English

“Come on Son, we’re going to Grandma’s now.” Called the voice of my mother from the bottom of the stairs. “Okay I’m just putting my shoe on,” I replied. I loved going to my Great Grandma’s home, especially in the winter because she would always wrap me in a blanket, sit me on her lap and tell me stories about when she was younger. She had a very large and lovely home, the house was filled with old photographs, and paintings that my Great Grandma had collected over the years. I could see Grandma sitting on the porch wrapped in her big fur coat, with a scarf and beanie, holding Jeremy her beloved companion and pet cat on her lap. She would always be waiting for us no matter what the weather was like. She greeted us with a warm smile and a big hug, then ushered us through the front door. After we had settled down for a while I began to wander around her home. I started to have a look at all the paintings, photographs, and little knick knacks on the walls, when I came across a photo of a young woman, I picked it up to have a closer look. She was quite pretty and looked very happy in the photo. I turned the picture over to see partially faded handwriting on the back, it read, “19th Birthday, 1937.” I decided to take it back to my Grandma and ask her who this was. “Well my boy, that was me on my 19 birthday, she exclaimed.” She looked at me sadly, then looked at the photograph. “I used to be a pretty girl.” This was something I heard often, but I never knew why

I decided to ask her some questions. “Grandma, in this photo you do not have your scar, and your nose is in a different shape. You said that you used to be a pretty girl, What happened?” “Oh you want to hear the story of how I got this beak, she replied with a smile.” I giggled a little bit, but I knew whatever she was about to tell me was not going to be a delightful story. She then said, “Well I’m going to tell you a story about a young woman, who was very brave and caring towards others, but was unlucky in her efforts.” “It all started when she was twenty three years old, during the second World War.”

The War between Germany and the allied forces had been going for three years now, Louise was a young woman living in central Amsterdam. The days were very dark and the weather unbearably cold, so much so that you could not feel your toes or finger tips. She worked tirelessly sewing coats, blankets and scarfs to earn barely enough to live off. She shared her apartment with another young women who. This however was not only the thing Louise had been up to during this time period, she along with a few other women, where Jewish sympathizers. What they would do is smuggle young Jewish children who were either orphaned or had been separated from the parents, onto trains that led to the countryside. There they would leave them in the safety of the farmers who were willing to take in and look after these children until it was safe for them to return home. This however came at a risk, if anyone were to be caught smuggling a child with them would either be instantly shot, or thrown in front of a train. Though this was the case, Louise would do anything to give these children better lives. She had developed a few ways in which she could hide the children from being sighted, using a long floor length fur coat, she had made herself able to cover the child and then she would carry bags in order to cover anything exposed that the coat could not conceal.

It was a particularly cold day and Louise had received a letter pleading for her help to deliver a boy named Jeremy to his Uncle’s farm just outside of Holland. Louise grabbed her large fur coat, wide brimmed hat, scarf, and headed to the address given in the letter. To meet this family, she had to walk through the train station, and as she began walking through the station out of the corner of her eye she spotted a German soldier on patrol keeping a steady glance at her, she didn’t think anything of it and walked on. She arrived at the address given to her in the letter, she knocked on the door, and a moment later a women covered in flour and dough opened the door. “Sorry I’m a mess, I’ve been baking for tomorrow’s work day, do come in.” Louise was only at the home for a short while before leaving, and in that short time Jeremy’s parents explained the situation. Jeremy was an adopted child, he was not aware of this yet, but his parents were Jewish and were sent away to Dachau, one of the first concentration camps to be opened, he was at risk of being found in the main city.

Louise was very willing to help this family out, she had learned that Jeremy had an uncle that he was quite fond of, who she would be leaving him in the care of. Upon reaching the station Louise stopped Jeremy and brought him to an alleyway and explained to him that he needed to stay inside her coat like in a game of hide and seek. “Have you got that,” she asked? The boy nodded in agreement. Louise opened her coat and put the side over the top of him she then carried her bag along side her covering the boys feet from being seen. The two head into the station, Louise making sure she avoided eye contact, after looking around for a while she did not see the guard who was watching her before, this gave her a small bit of relief. The final call to board the train could be heard around the corner of the ticket box. Louise reassured the child and quickly walked around the corner and bumped into a large figure. The child let out a small yelp and Louise looked up in horror to see the soldier she was desperately trying to avoid. He looked down and bent over to pick something up, It was Jeremy’s shoe, it must have come loose. He looked at the shoe and back at her strangely, she had to think of something really quick other wise she could be facing a terrible consequence. She explained to the soldier she was visiting family and had a pair of shoes to give to her nephew, the soldier seemed to believe the story and let her continue on her way.

It was a couple of hours on the train before reaching the Uncle’s farm. Time went by fast though, as Jeremy babbled on about his favourite things to do and how we was excited to see his uncle. They arrived at the station and there was Jeremy’s his uncle waiting for them, he was very thankful that Louise brought Jeremy there safely. They said their goodbyes and Jeremy gave her a hug thanking her for what she was doing for him. The ride home seemed longer than usual, Louise was sad to see Jeremy go, she hadn’t known him for long, but she knew he was special.

Upon departing from the last station before her stop, Louise saw further down the cart, the same soldier she had run into at the station. He looked directly at her and proceeded to walk towards where she was sitting. Louise started to feel worried, and couldn’t think of what it was he wanted. Then horror struck her as she put her hand in her jacket pocket, the letter was missing. She got up quickly and turned to try and escape him, but out of nowhere appeared another soldier blocking her path. Louise had no idea what to do, the next few seconds were a blur, everything happened so quickly. “All she remembered was the soldier yelling at her, grabbing her by the waist and next thing she knew she was pushed off the train.” “You’re the woman, aren’t you Grandma,” I said with excitement. She then further explained that when she was thrown off the train she had landed on her face and the force broke her nose, causing her to develop the lump on her nose and scarring on her face. “How did you end up in Australia then,” I asked her? She told me that soon after her where about’s had been discovered the Nazi Soldiers had learnt of the recent events. She migrated to Australia by boat and while on the ship she met the man who would soon become her husband.

She sat there quietly and I did the same, letting the story sink in. She glanced over at me as she pondered on her thoughts and said to quietly under her breathe as she looked at the photograph, “I used to be a pretty girl.”

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