All The Days of My Life

Free All The Days of My Life by Hilary Bailey

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Authors: Hilary Bailey
like Wattenblath Street. They’re trying to hit the flaming railway again.” A red flicker was filling the room. Ivy sat down with the baby, saying, half to herself, “I hate all this. What a world to bring a baby into.” She froze as the whistling sound of a bomb came again. “Sid,” she cried, “Sid – we’re going to die –” But the crash came a little further off. “Come away from that window, Sid,” she yelled. “Pull the curtains.”
    Sid, drawing the blackout curtains across the window, said, “Take it easy, love. I’ll put the kettle on.” He came across the small room and kissed the top of the baby’s head. “Be all right,” he told her, “they’re on the run.” He turned on the light.
    Ivy went on feeding the baby. She said, “Someone’s knocking at the door. Better open up.”
    Sid went to open the door and came in again followed by a thickset man of about thirty wearing a rough khaki tunic and trousers. He hesitated in the doorway, seeing Ivy feeding the baby. “Oh – excuse me, Ivy,” he said. “Just wondered if I could shelter here until it’s over. I didn’t realize –”
    â€œCan’t stand on ceremony in times like these,” Ivy said briskly. “Come on in. Sid’s just put the kettle on.” She gave him a careful look, then rearranged her dress and put the baby back in its basket, where the little girl whimpered and then fell asleep.
    Once again the house shook. Sid ran to the kitchen window and cried out, “I think they got the depot. I’ll have to go.”
    â€œOh, no, Sid,” wailed Ivy. “Don’t go – you can’t do any good.”
    Sid was putting on his coat, saying, “It’s no good, Ivy. They’ll all be in there – Harry, Jim Jessop, all of them. Half of them are coming off shift and the other half’s going on.”
    â€œYou can’t help, Sid,” she cried. She jumped up and took his coat by the sleeve. “For God’s sake, think of the rest of us.”
    â€œI’m another pair of hands, Ivy,” he said. “That’s what they need. Raid’s mostly over, anyway. You can hear the ack-ack guns making short work.”
    â€œThey’ve only got to drop one more,” said Ivy. “And that’s you gone. Think of that.”
    He said urgently, “Ivy, love, I’ve got to go – what sort of a man would I be?”
    Ivy sighed and dropped his sleeve. “All right. Go if you’ve got to,” she said. He put on his cap and went out. She followed him onto the pavement. The sky to the west was red with fire. A plane droned overhead. There was gunfire. They stood outside the house with their heads bent, as if that would protect them from the bombs.
    â€œDon’t leave me and Shirley in the house with that gangster,” she whispered. “Anything might happen.”
    â€œHe’s harmless,” said Sid. “He’s in the army now.”
    â€œHe’s gone AWOL,” said Ivy. “He’ll be posted as a deserter. He’s done time for half-killing a woman, Sid. How can you go and leave me here with him?”
    â€œHe never touched a woman,” said Sid. “Oh, well – his wife – that’s different, isn’t it? Listen, Arnie Rose is perfectly all right as long as you know him. What’s more, this is just an excuse to keep me back. You were at school with him. You’re no more afraid of him than I am. I’ve got to go. The raid’s nearly over. I have to go down to the bus depot and see if anybody’s hurt.”
    The skies were quieter now. The gunfire was more sporadic. Ivy looked up and then across at the red glow along the skyline. She said, “All right, Sid. Look after yourself.”
    â€œWe’ll meet again,” he said. He went off down the pavement into the darkness. She

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