The Invisible Wall is an amazing story set in the 1940s. Read further to discover the first part of this teenage-love tale.
The Invisible Wall Part 1
It was the winter of 1940. A wave of chaos, loiter and emigration swept across northern France following the fall of French and Dutch forces and the subsequent armistice with Germans. However little did it hamper the fourteen-year-old Louie and his family who lived in Perche, Normandy. Louie belonged to a peasant family that hardly had anything upon which one would set an eye. The winter left Louie with no other business than to attend his school. Since winter was not an ideal time to grow crops he didn’t have to help his parents in the field.
The German dictatorship hadn’t even spared his school. They dismissed the French teacher and ceased teaching the French language. In protest of this move some teachers of the school resigned. Louie’s school was the only school in the Normandy province to have the German language as a subject along with good German teachers. So, they turned into a base from where Germans could work to impose the new curriculum in every educational center across northern France. The kins of German officials and soldiers could continue their education here too.
The teacher introduced Louie’s class to a new learner. Her name was Erin Bron; A gorgeous fourteen-year-old child with blonde hair, gray eyes, and rosy cheeks. She was the daughter of Colonel Gustav Bron. Colonel Bron was a decorated military officer who was in command of a German armored unit attached with the infantry division stationed at the divisional headquarter located at Perche, Normandy.
The teacher cautioned everyone that Erin would study there only for a few months till she went back to Berlin. And also that the students of French and Dutch origin, as well as the students belonging to middle and lower-class families, shouldn’t make any direct contact with the students of German Origin from then onwards. They warned to prosecute those who tried to break this Invisible wall along with their families.
However, Louie wanted to befriend her. To stay hidden from the eyes of authorities he decided to do this after school.
He tried to follow the wagon which carried Erin back after school, but couldn’t match its speed. However, he followed the tracks left by the wagon’s wheel on the dusty road. It led him to a château surrounded and guarded by military entrenchments. Any unauthorized entry was prohibited. He waited outside for an hour and a half and saw the same wagon come out of the château’s main entrance.
Louie spotted Erin sitting along with her chauffeur. He tried to chase the wagon which stopped close to a pond, not too far from the château. Louie hurdled but his steps ceased behind a big rock in fear. The fear wasn’t because he wanted to attempt to cross the invisible wall, but because of the uncertainty of Erin’s response when he will approach her.
Louie stood there confused, but the chauffeur and the driver sensed his presence and went forward to attack him. Erin recognized him at first sight and asked her companions not to attack the boy. The generous companions on learning that the boy meant no harm and was Erin’s fellow student, not only spared his life but also promised that they will not report him to the authorities. Thereafter Erin and Louie began to talk.
She asked him, ‘Why did you risk your life to meet me?’
‘I just wanted to be your friend and get to know you better.’
Erin was a lonely child and had very few friends; so Louie’s gesture pleased her. They began to talk freely and asked one another about their families. Erin didn’t show any discomfort knowing that Louie belonged to a peasant family. All that mattered to her was that Louie was a nice boy and a nice friend who loved and respected her.
Love never lets any hatred slip in. The bond of their friendship grew stronger with time. On farewell, she kissed his cheek and said goodbye in her mother tongue. They met at the same place the next day after school and played some games. However this time there were few more people on the spot. They were sons of high-ranking German military officers. Those teenage Germans weren’t as sensible and well mannered as Erin.
They ridiculed Louie and bullied him to no extent. This episode intensified and grew into a scuffle during which they beat Louie black and blue. Erin cried all the while and begged the boys to end the scuffle. When she saw no benefit to her civilized approach, she slapped two of them hard and left them stunned. The beating stopped.
One amongst the slapped boys was the Major General’s son. Erin’s slap terribly shook his ego. He didn’t say anything to her but vowed to take revenge for that insult. He returned and reported Louie’s daily meetings with Colonel Gustav’s daughter to Captain Weisenberg, a member of Gestapo, and in-charge of Château’s security.
Will the invisible wall engulf them in its rigidity, or will they battle it to conclude with a happy ending? Come back next Sunday, to read what happens next with Erin and Louie in this love story of a teenager.
Suraj Kumar Singh
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