For my countryside self, the roar of the crowd is foreign to me. My hands cover my ears in an attempt to block out the sounds, wishing I could have some brief relief from the overwhelming environment.
A slap lands on one of my arms, turning into a grab as it pulls down one of my arms. “Stop that, you’re embarrassing me, girl,” my mother admonishes with her typical frown covering her features. A smile replaces the expression when more military comes by to greet her.
“Ah, Generalmajor Ackermann, I’d like you to meet my family!” my father’s jovial voice calls out over the noise, bringing over a fairly tall man. His light blond hair is long for being a soldier, though it’s his eyes, piercing blue, that reminds me of someone that isn’t much older than my own thirteen years. Though, he must be fairly mature to be a Generalmajor.
“This is my oldest, Lucienne.”
I’m frozen in place. If I knew how to properly introduce myself before, that information is long gone now. My hands clench at the hem of my baby blue floral dress, worried at how upset my parents will be at my etiquette. They’ve been instilling this into me since I was a young toddler.
“Forgive her manners, Ackermann! She’s such a young girl at times!” My father pats him on the back, mocking me while the men surrounding him laugh at my expense. Heat rushes to my cheeks, and I hope it’s not noticeable on my pale cheeks. With a peek to the younger soldier, I notice a warm smile of mirth on his face. He’s not taunting me, just grinning at the situation.
“And this is my son, Frederick. Already a skilled marksman at only ten years! Imagine!”
After the introductions are over, my father turns away with the older military men. Generalmajor Axel sits near me, staring ahead at the Olympic games in front of us.
“So what are you good at, Miss Lucienne?” he finally breaks the silence by asking.
Startled, I stutter. “My mother is teaching me to cook.”
“Are you good at it?”
I look away. “No.”
He grins, adjusting his hat. “Tell me something you’re good at and enjoy.”
“I enjoy reading...and writing, sometimes.” The last part I’m not too great at, but he doesn’t have to know that.
“Will you write me letters? While I’m off fighting?” He grins, so I know he’s joking. Still, I can’t help but fake being offended.
“Of course not! I barely know you, Mr. Ackermann! I’d only write to a father, brother, or beau. You are none of these.” Cross my arms and legs, I pout, looking away. I hear a small chuckle deep from his chest.
“True, I’m not. I don’t have any family, though. Have pity on me?”
Raising an eyebrow as I look back at the sad expression he’s placed on his face. Within a second, he’s smiling, causing me to do the same. “You’re infuriating.”
“I’ve been called similar synonyms.” His teeth are so white as he’s smiling with his mouth fully open in a smirk. My father isn’t paying attention to us. If he had been, I doubt Axel would be relaxing this much. Still, it’s odd for a soldier to relax at all. He seems very young to be a Generalmajor.
“How old are you?” Resting forward on my chin, I impatiently wait for the answer but try to seem uninterested. My friend Imogene says don’t be too eager for a man’s attention. So far, she’s been the only one I know with a boyfriend.
“I am twenty. Surprised?”
My eyebrows are already raised as evidence of that. “Yes. How did you become a Generalmajor already?”
He grins again, standing up and dusting himself off, looking the same level as impeccable as before. “You’ll have to write me and I will tell you.” He tips his hat. “Nice to me you, Miss Lucienne.”
To Generalmajor Ackermann,
Here I am, writing to you, much to your satisfaction. You still haven’t answered my question from before: how did you become a Generalmajor at such a young age?
I crumple up the page, tossing it across the room. Sighing, I try again, withholding nothing this time.
Dear Axel Ackermann,
On August 1st,1936, I met you.
A German Girl.