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Angelina Nguyen

Australia

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
-Benjamin Franklin

Message from Writer

Hello, everyone! I hope you enjoy my pieces published on this page! Most of what I write is inspired by real life events, along with people I have the pleasure of meeting. Please favourite, review, leave a comment or share any of my works if you like them because it may not seem like it but it means a great deal to me and will make my day tremendously.

The other side of the story

April 20, 2016

He entered the room, slowly shuffling, which was clumsy to do with his oversized boots. Conscious of the footsteps of mud he had made, he promised quietly to himself that he would clean it up once he was done. The day had been long but for him, it was over in a split second. It proved that time really did fly when he was busy though he could not help but feel unsettled, as if his daily routines were going to be played by a cruel trick. He did not suspect this to be true; he rather disregarded it as another one of his uneasy anxieties that he always managed to keep concealed under a masculine demeanor. Before he knew it, the night greeted him with a soft rain, trickling lightly down the translucent windows that had not been washed for months, he assumed, in the far wall across. He recognized the bittersweet scent anywhere- the calm before a storm.
Twisting the knob ever so gently to shut the door behind him, Hugo absorbed the interior of the room, studying the unfamiliar yet far-too-familiar-for-his-liking room. He forgot what it had been like inside a place like this since he recovered last year. The constant fear of never being able to escape was what, ironically, led to his discharge and his eventual return. He swore that from the days he had spent in this room that he would make something out of himself. The taste of sickly blood from that near-death experience began to linger upon his dry tongue and he started to wonder if coming here was the right thing to do.
There were different patient numbers written on the rickety beds as he walked towards the one he was looking for. Covered by creamy, stained sheets, the patients had been fighting more than physical abrasions and casualties; Hugo knew that many were tackling their traumas along with it. Every face looked worse as he progressed down the room. Every face, despite the elaborate wounds afflicted upon them, that enveloped their built yet vulnerable bodies and the fractures that hindered them from ever leaving their beds, let alone the room itself, alive, had the unexpected look of relief on them. Hugo approached the bed he was looking for and pulled back the linen curtain.
“Finally,” Hugo sighed as he plopped himself on a broken stool next to it. Klaus. Looking at him, Hugo realized how delicate the nearly-twenty-five-year-old was. The wrinkles on the patient’s forehead were modest, faint like the rays of sun when it first touches the morning sky. His cheekbones were sturdy but had the youthful touch to them. Short, brown lashes that curled subtly coated his eyelids that were closed in the way that he appeared to not be dead but in a state of deep slumber. Hugo smiled vaguely before instantly grimacing at the complex bandages that wrapped around Klaus’ stomach. The wound must have tortured the boy but the painstaking aftermath of the treatments he was undergoing was far worse, Hugo imagined. That was the thing about the hospital care provided; it never cured anyone but was more of a placebo effect that gave the patient a hope that they would survive and as they persevered, it almost made it out to be not as bad as it seemed.
Yawning, Klaus started to sit up and was at first startled but beamed brighter than the lamps around him after seeing who had come to visit.
“Good evening, General,” he said in a raspy tone. Hugo knew the infamous sniper from the troop he had been asked to train for the next six months. Under Nuremberg law, they were being molded into becoming devoted, ideal German soldiers. Why Hugo had taken a certain interest in the young sniper he did not seem to quite comprehend himself but it all made sense when he received a letter that led him to the hospital, the letter than changed everything he thought he knew.
“How are you, Klaus?” Hugo asked, sounding more nervous than he needed to be. Klaus nodded considerably and asked about the upcoming plans. As Hugo reported their new strategy set to be employed within the next few days after the ceasefire, he began to tense as he paid closer attention to Klaus. The way he scrunched his question-marked nose, the bounce in his step as he shared his training day stories and the flame that flickered in his eyes that reminded Hugo too well of a look that he had not looked at since he departed for the first war many years ago. He missed how intensely he felt towards that look and the ability it had to numb him but simultaneously, surround him with warmth. It was beautiful, but not in the abusing of it for it was like a candle smoldering in a dismal chamber. He never thought he would return to that feeling but his attachment to the look lifted his spirit and made him believe that he would come home to it someday after all of this.
“The nurse said I may not make it after today. I am glad you came to see me, General. I had always admired you because you treated me like a real German,” he grinned before exhaling, “I can finally reunite with my mother.” He looked gloomily at the rotting ceiling and muttered a prayer.
“What do you mean by that?” Hugo frowned.
“My mother was taken away to the camps. I was going to be taken too but the men told me that I was not ‘like her’. If I chose to fight for the country, I would be spared,” he spoke as if he had rehearsed and told the tale a thousand times before. “They refused to tell me what that even meant. I never wanted to leave my mother but she insisted otherwise, begging me to go and respect her orders. I guess she wanted to give me a chance to live but she did not live and that matters more, for neither will I for long.”
Klaus had been corrupted by people who hated someone he was not. He had been trained vigorously to believe that violence is the key to survival and that war was the right way to achieve that. War is never right, and it never will be. Worst of all, the injured sniper was lying on his deathbed unable to fathom why he was there in the first place. He will never know why he was given a chance.
“I wish you a rapid recovery. If only you did not have to face the harshness of this war, you might have known why you have become who you are now,” Hugo said softly. He knew well who Klaus really was and why he had been freed from the chambers.
“Thank you for visiting. I hope I will fight alongside you again someday and make you proud,” the boy whispered as he drifted off to sleep.
Staring at the patient, Hugo noticed how grown up the boy was, and then realizing he never got to see him grow up to truly know. Klaus could never bring himself to understand the extent that Hugo, too, had admired the young sniper but not just as a soldier with potential that he could, now, never cultivate. He simply felt sorry for Klaus along with the others in his troop, brainwashed to deny, to forget and to hate their other half. Klaus did not do that, for his love for his mother was untainted throughout his time. This upset Hugo as he would never believe it, but the general had loved the boy too. He loved him because he was able to love the son he never got to know until today.
 

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