I receive three letters that arrive all together from my mother. In one of them, she has included her photo. I stare at it long and hard. My heart sinks as the face of a woman I barely recognise stares back at me. ‘When did she get so old?’ This woman has lost weight and looks haggard; my mother has always been such a vibrant woman with a sparkle in her eye. Yet here … she looks so weary. War has changed all of us. I place this latest photo with my diaries, hidden away. I don’t know if I will look at it again. In my wallet, close to my heart, I prefer to keep a photo that shows her smiling in days gone past.
It is the end of February when suddenly, weekly impromptu tent searches commence. Luckily, just before the first one, I am forewarned. I dispose of my latest diary that I had been hiding under my mattress. The other books are in a much safer place and although I feel a pang of regret at the loss of one these journals, it would not be worth it to be caught with this in my possession.
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