Despite his initial scepticism, Kit had to admit these chats with Dr Grace didn’t seem to be doing him any harm. Grace was never accusatory, dismissive or sarcastic. He seemed genuinely interested in what Kit had to say.
As usual, he started with the files. “According to your files you aren’t married.”
“What the files don’t tell us is whether you are engaged — officially or unofficially.”
“Have you been seeing anyone special?”
Kit didn’t answer immediately.
“You’re twenty-three years old, an age in which healthy young men usually have a strong interest in the opposite sex. Although obviously there are exceptions—”
“I’m not one of those exceptions. I’ve been seeing a young lady regularly.” Kit did not want any more strikes against him. He was in enough trouble as it was.
“She wouldn’t have had any influence on your decision not to fly additional operations, would she?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, there are many girls who flatly refuse to get involved with aircrew. The daughter of a family friend told me to my face that she thought any girl who would go out with aircrew was “morbid.” Girls may not know the statistics — we try to keep those secret after all. Nevertheless, WAAF with Bomber Command have a jolly good idea that aircrew don’t have a high chance of surviving one tour — never mind two. I expect the more intelligent civilian girls can guess too. If nothing else, they know that at present only the Royal Navy and aircrew are facing the enemy day after day. You can’t blame a girl for not wanting to see her fiancé or boyfriend killed. Did your girl object to you volunteering for a second tour of operations?”
“She wasn’t happy about it,” Kit admitted. “In fact, she told me I was stupid and making a huge mistake.”
“But you went ahead anyway.” It wasn’t a question, so Kit didn’t say anything. Dr Grace asked gently. “Did your decision to fly anyway impact the relationship?”
Kit thought about that. He wasn’t sure. “It was a complicated relationship.”
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