By Donald Siegrist, Army
Writing Type: Prose
My first real encounter with the female of the species did not occur until I was in the Army and sent to England. Prior to that, I was too occupied with mere survival. Having come from divorced parents, I was forced to fend for myself; I had no time for the opposite sex.
When I was 20, I enlisted in the Army and was sent to England. I was later put in charge of four men and given an assignment: we were to go to occupied France and kidnap a German officer and his records. To assist us in this difficult task were several French women who were active in the French resistance and went under the name of “The Maquis.” It was their job to help us gain access to the French coastline, and to show us where our officer was to be found. They were also to assist in any way needed.
During our training and briefing, we began to know each other. When the time allowed, we’d listen to music, dance, and simply be young people together. Among this group was a slim, dark-haired girl of about 19. We became attracted to each other through our mutual love of music. Her outward appearance tended to be frivolous, but she was far from it when you got to know her. Appearing frivolous is an asset when you are a spy. I did not speak French, but she spoke English. I greatly admired her for her courage and intelligence. After one evening together (with the group), I walked her to her room, embraced and kissed her. Our business at hand, however, was far too important to allow us to get too serious in our personal relationship. The next morning she was quite friendly and I realized I liked females. They were warm, friendly and cuddly. I was hoping she and I could extend our friendship beyond the holocaust of World War II.
We saw each other several times during the war. The women accompanied us on small pleasure boats through enemy waters. We pretended to be young partygoers making whoopee in the small crafts. That is how we got beyond the German patrols. Once on land, the women gave us our instructions and we separated. My four men and myself were successful on three different raids. When we captured the German officers, it was my job to take them back to the United States. It would be weeks before I saw my lovely friend again. You may wonder why I don’t call her by name. I have to say, I do not remember her name. You might think that odd, but I believe my psyche is being kind to me. We were on our fourth raid.
We had found out that some members of “The Maquis” had changed their loyalties: there were traitors among us. My orders were to put an end to their activities. My dear friend knew who these women were, and where they operated. She pointed out their headquarters to us. She returned home and we proceeded to do what had to be done. We raided their headquarters and took the prisoners to our nearest U.S. troops.
Anxious to see my friend again, I left my prisoners and went directly to her home. I walked up the stairs to the porch, looked in through the large windows and saw that there were eight black shirts standing around an object on the floor. It was my dear one. I knew at once she had been beaten and shot, but it appeared that she was not being raped. A terrible rage came over me: it was a rage that took away fear and reason.
I crashed through the door. They saw at once they had been caught in a terrible act and they ran from me. They ran towards the kitchen and saw what they thought was a back door, but it was the door to the cellar. They had no choice but to run down the stairs into the darkness.
When I reached the cellar door, I closed it behind me, and I slowly descended down the stairs. I had only my dirk knife, which was attached to my calf, as a weapon. I withdrew it and went into the abyss. I had an advantage. Anything I touched that was warm was my enemy. In the darkness, they knew they could be attacking one of their own. I don’t have a clear memory what happened down in that dark cellar, but I do know that I avenged my dear, lovely lady. So, when you ask me who my first sweetheart was… it’s a question that fills me with sadness.