New notebook thanks to A, the last one went down with my ship.
Writing it down makes it seem more real. She was my first and my last, of course, they won't give me another when I've only got half the left hand. They operated when I was brought in, to tidy up the damage and get rid of any debris and shattered bone. They sound confident that I will regain use of it but for the time being it's heavily bandaged and they are anxiously monitoring the progress of healing to stop it from infecting and going bad. I've never felt so clumsy in my life.
One knows what's at stake when one signs up, that not everybody gets through alive and whole, but it's hard to imagine what might happen to you. The injuries are even less imaginable than dying. When we set out to rescue the army from Dunkirk, we all knew we might go down with our ships, that we might not see the end of it. But I never quite imagined this, being out of the action for the end, feeling almost intact if it were not for my hand. The rest of me is fine apart from some cuts and bruises.[...]
[...] I wrote to Spud after Dunkirk, feeling I wouldn't be able to get it out of my mind if I didn't. All those days in hospital, with all those hours to pass, after the rounds and between the meals, having read the paper twice and not taking anything in from the book you're reading, there's plenty of time to think. I couldn't help replaying that scene in my head. I couldn't stop wondering if I'd been right to act the way I did with him all those years ago. So I wrote, although I'm not sure I expected an answer. But I hoped he would. But I didn't expect my letter coming back, stamped "Died of Wounds". He was in a bad way during that crossing, I shouldn't have been too surprised, but I was quite shaken.
A found me in the lobby of the hospital chapel later, with the letter, and I found myself telling him everything. He already knew the gist of the Hazell episode, but not about Spud in it, now he knows it all.
The doctors are saying my hand is healing well.[...]
[...] I always knew this was a small world. Someone I met at a party thrown by one of A and S's friends a while ago and spent the night with is actually the instructor for a section of the training course they sent me to. This could be awkward, I'm not convinced he knows what discretion is, but I'm meeting him for drinks tomorrow night any way.[...]
[...] It's very late but I can't sleep. So much happened tonight that I don't know where to start.
The beginning, I suppose. It was A's birthday and naturally I went to the party. And who do I meet there? Spud. Who's not dead after all. Who didn't even lose his leg which looked very bad when he was onboard. Who's been in that temporary hospital in the country all these months. Meeting him did answer some of the questions I had when I wrote that letter, in one way or another, and I want to get to know him properly.
Meeting him again would've been enough for one party, but more was to come. Bim, clearly beginning to bow under pressure, came up with something that I only ever told A and there was a bit of a scene. I took him home. Poor Bim, there's no way he can last much longer.
When I got back, I found S at one of his attention-seeking little tricks. I'm not going to waste paper to write down what I think of that kind of thing. For A's sake, I'm glad I was there and able to help, and Spud, who couldn't have expected this kind of thing when he accepted S's invitation to the party, thought on his feet and made a little easier for me and A. I wouldn't blame him if he never wanted to see any of us again, but we'll see.[...]
[...] I broke up with Boo who worked himself into a frenzy just to have a final row, so he could storm off and feel vindicated, so I let him. It just wasn't worth arguing any more.[...]