The orderlies carried Evan’s litter into the dark tent and moved him onto a bed. The two orderlies picked up the litter and left the room.
Evans sat up and looked around the room. All but one of the beds were empty except for the one to his left. The man in the bed was pale. He had a long scar on his face.
The man slowly looked over at Evans, “Finally… I’ve been alone in here for a week.”
“What about doctors?”
“There’s a cute Nurse that comes through to bring me meals every few hours. But this is the recovery ward. We don’t need doctors. And the Nurse doesn’t stay around long.”
Evans nodded, “So what are you in for?”
The man sighed, “Kneecapper. Ripped off my right leg.”
Staring into the ceiling, Evans responded, “Kneecapper?”
“Little Mines the Vledscans place. They pop up and explode in the air. My Lieutenant stepped on it. How about you?”
“Broke my leg,” Evans slowly sat up, “I was hiding from artillery in an armored car.”
“So what are you?”
“Rank, unit, whatever.”
“Lance Corp Evans. 202nd Infantry. You?”
“Lance Corp Miller. 301st Infantry. But I guess I won’t be going back there,” the man then coughed.
“So what do you do all day?” Evans felt his pockets, finding most of his things stolen.
“Mostly sit around. Twiddle my thumbs. Think about the cute nurse. Sleep. Wish I still had my leg,” He sighed, “But seriously, no one talks to me.”
Evans shrugged, “You should ask the nurse to eat dinner with you. What’s the worst that could happen?”
The two talked for a while before a woman wearing a blue dress and white apron came in carrying two lunch trays. She placed them on the end tables next to Evans and Miller. She then walked over to Evans’ bed, “Hello, I’m Sarah. You must be James.” She looked over at Miller, “And how are you doing John?”
“Good Sarah. I was wondering, if you have dinner around the same time we do, would you like to join us?”
Sarah shrugged, “Sure. I don’t really like eating with those officers anyways. I’ll see you two in a few hours.” She waved, “I’ll be back in forty to pick up the trays. See you two later.” Sarah then turned around and left.
The two ate their meals. Evans took a nap for a few hours. He awoke when Sarah walked in pushing a cart with three trays on it. She pulled a bed over, sat on it, and handed out the trays. Evans grabbed his tray, “So Sarah, you said you don’t like eating with the officers. Does that mean you’re not military?”
Sarah nodded as she poured tea from a pitcher, “I’m a volunteer nurse. To be an Army nurse you have to be an officer, and to be an officer you have to have an education or connections, and I have neither. But I apprenticed under my town doctor so I have the skills. My fiance is in the army though. He’s a rifleman in the 351st.”
Evans leaned forward, “The 351st, do you know which company? One of my best friends is in the 351st.”
She shook her head, “No, We try not to talk about the war in our letters.” She pointed at Evans’ ring finger, “So you’re married?”
“Yeah, Anna. We’re expecting our first in a few months.”
“Well, This hospital is far enough behind the lines, I could help arrange a visit for you, to tide you over until you get outprocessed in,” She bent over and looked at the clipboard on Evans’ bed, “Three weeks.”
“Right. Thanks! I can give you her information. Thanks!” Evans took sip from his drink.
Sarah turned to Miller, “So, John, you have anyone special in your life?”
“No…” Miller finished his meal and placed the tray down. He shrugged, “I’ll have a lot of free time to find one now that I don’t have a job. And hey if girls like scars, by logic they must love stumps instead of legs.”
Sarah spit out some of her tea laughing. Evans smiled. He took a few bites of his sandwich, “I tell you what, I don’t miss the food on the front lines.”
Miller nodded. Sarah held up a finger and then reached into her pocket. She pulled out a pad of paper and a pen, “Here, you can write down Anna’s information and something to tell her here. I’ll pick it up tomorrow. Just don’t be too personal, I don’t want to read your icky married things when I telegraph it.”
Sarah and Evans finished up their food. Sarah then collected all of the trays, waved goodbye, and left.
“Fuck,” Miller hit the table, “Of course she’s engaged.”
“Really? That’s why you wanted dinner?” Evans laid back down in his bed.
“I feel like it’s sort of implied, asking a girl to dinner.”
“Oh, so guys and girls can’t be friends now?”
“I don’t know, I just feel like that’s the point of having women friends,” Miller shrugged, “You’re married, so that’s the thing right?”
“Well my best friend was a women who I wasn’t married to.”
“Was, and I take it that it didn’t work out, because it wasn’t worth it, right?”
Evans cried a bit, “She’s dead.”
Miller stopped talking. They were silent for a few minutes before a Captain entered. Evans sat up and gave a half salute. The Captain waved it away, ”You don’t need to greet in bed.”
The Captain walked over and picked up Evans’ clipboard chart, “So, Evans, you’ve got a broken leg, and three weeks stay with us. So, any quick issues I should be aware of?”
Evans thought for a moment, “So, if I wanted to get up and move around?”
“Use the crutches at your bedside and you can go out. You need to be in bed for muster at all meal times, which are 0700, 1100, 1800. Lights out is 2300, so be in bed before then.”
Evans felt the side of his bed, and didn’t find any crutches. The Captain followed him with his eyes, “Well shit then. I will send an orderly to get you some. Wait, shit, does that mean, uh… Miller, you don’t have crutches either?”
“I don’t have a leg, so I feel they wouldn’t be useful.”
“Well shit. Sucks to be you. Um… We’ll have someone bring over a wheelchair. Awkward,” The Captain tapped the clipboard a few timed, “I’m Doctor Taylor. Um… And I’ll try and swing by every few days. Nurse Clemson is your main nurse. She’ll take most of your complaints, and orderlies will come to bathe you every few days.”
“And letters?” Evans gestured to the blank paper.
“Bring them to the main tent, it’s labeled. Leave them unopened so someone can censor them, and don’t give them Clemson, since she isn’t military,” Captain Taylor nodded, “Any other questions?”
Evans shook his head, “No, I think I’m good. Thank you Captain.”
“Alright. Nighty night… Oh, and if you need something at night, just pull the cord behind your bed, it will ring a bell on the outside and someone on watch can get an orderly. Well, bye,” the Captain waved, put the clipboard back on the end of Evans’ bed, and left.