I've been struggling lately. Struggling to come to terms with the fact that their all leaving. I never suspected it would or even could happen, but perhaps I should have seen it coming.
James Herriot, his partner, Siegfried, and Siegfried's brother, the dashing Tristan, are all heading off for war. World War I. There were scrappets of talk about the war. I completely took it for granted that the war was even going on - that the English boys would soon be off, that because it was a true story, there was no fictional possibility of hiding away, staying safe, evading all change and danger by staying at home. But no. They're going to war and I am struggling with the parting.
There is something about James Herriot's writing that has lured me in further than usual. Perhaps it is the fact that he is no just a character but a real human being who actually made me laugh. Perhaps it is the fact that I must have a reader's crush on him and Tristan. Oh Tristan. But whatever it is, I have taken hardly to their going away, and to the change that they are about to experience, even though I, as their attentive listener, stay where I am.
I have become the wives and girlfriends of all the troops. My boys going off to a dangerous and terrible thing far away for an undetermined amount of time, and having to stay behind, stay at home, stay alone without them. The change, or the threat of change is so real for me. Because James has been giving me such a sweetly satisfying life, the idea that not only am I going to finish this book, but he will have gone to war and the sweet satisfaction of that constant feeling of home will have vanished, leaves me shaken to the roots. Change always shakes me. I adapt quickly, but I'm always unhappy having to change.
I've never had to experience such change from a book. It distresses me. I will a tearful handerkerchief waver from that bed-sitter's window.