It was the summer of Vichy and we felt liberated. Romance was in the air like mustard gas. As for the mustard gas, it was accumulating in our fatty tissue like mustard gas.
I didn’t need to see much of Cassandra to fall in love. A faint outline and a brown smudge was all I could make out due to the partial blindness. We threw caution and penicillin to the wind, destined to be together for the rest of our drastically shortened lives.
There were obvious issues with our relationship. Natural forces prevented us from being together: the wind for one, our different religions another. Even after I managed to cope with the instantaneous blistering from the sun, going out on dates was difficult. Every favorite date spot of mine had turned to battlefield, even the old “Make-Out Trenches.”
As our conditions worsened, we began to grow apart. There were no tears, as our tear ducts were shot. We both moved on: I fell in love with a younger and more physically attractive girl, Cassandra died.
You now know them as ‘war years,’ but back in those days, we just called them ‘years.’ Everyone felt special then: the capitalists, the communists, even the refugees had a certain je ne sais quoi about them, possibly from their burned-off faces. But I felt special because I was in love. And having an inordinate amount of sex.