“Breathe,” Lily told herself. “LILY!” Her mother screamed. Promptly snapping out of her daydream, Lily ran to catch up with her family, her small frame buckling under the weight of her suitcase. As she grasped her mothers hand she took one last look at Clydebank, not that there was much left to look at, everything looked like it had disappeared into thin air, from the weeds in the pavement to the bricks that made up the repellent tenements. The only clue that everything had not indeed vanished was the smoke that was still arising from the streets blackened with ash.1941 had not been kind.
Every step closer to the station was nauseating, her breathing became narrow. What if these people were horrible ? “Mum the bombing is over, we can stay !” ”No” she said, it was a futile attempt anyway, her Mother had already decided besides , their home was nothing but a pile of bricks. The terror of that night resurfaced , these moments of panic fluttered through Lily, Peggy used to always calm her down but now she just had to succumb to the fear. All you could see in the train station was people, some still coated in dirt. All of them were heading to platform five like a moth to the flame.Smoke was emitting from the red velvet train. There were children screaming and Mothers crying. The stench of smoke was still radiating off every person even though Lily’s nose had almost become accustomed to the scent. Then she saw a flash of brown hair and blue eyes.Peggy. Then she was back there, at that night.God how she hated that night.
It was late and they shouldn’t have been up but Mum was on night shift and Anna and James were asleep so Peggy and Lily were sitting in the living room drinking tea. In total darkness of course as the blackout had begun long ago but a few embers in the grate of the fire were still alight. It was peaceful and Lily was just about to nod off when the building across the street went up in flames. Bombs. There had been no siren “Lily go” Peggy said. The four siblings were on the ground floor when the roof caved in.
Grief could feel an awful lot like guilt. Lily was saved by the light while Peggy was lost in the darkness. Lily was pulled from the rubble the next morning. But Peggy was not, seeing her sister’s body lifeless, like a flame extinguished was something Lily thought she would never have to witness. But this was not her fault. This was that awful man’s fault, his actions killed her sister and countless others. Grief could also feel like anger.
As she sat in the train compartment looking out the window at her mother, who was on the verge of breaking point and holding her distraught siblings’ hands. She realised she would have to be brave for them. For Peggy.