The deprivations of war stripped nearly everyone her of their souls, but somehow she remained innocent. She was at an age where she was leaving behind childhood but was hardly a woman. Her body was a woman's, but when she talked, it betrayed her naivety.
She saved her best of everything for the parade that day. For the first time, she rugged her cheeks, and her mother braided the chestnut locks that flowed down to the neckline on her dress.
Feeling it was only right, she welcome the soldiers home. She stayed for the entire parade and cheered herself hoarse, blowing the occasional kiss from her painted lips.
She was there for them all, but like many swooning girls lining the streets, there one she was there for the most, the hero of the hour was a dashing young Captain. From an extraordinary city built from glamor and dreams, she had only seen on postcards and had only visited in her dreams.
Being more modest than she was beautiful, the lass didn't think the famed martial Don Juan would have could ever have noticed her among the many. Somehow, he had. a note hand-delivered by a sheepish young private made her think the end of the war indeed was a happy ending.
She spent the rest of the day in a dream. Again and again, the Captain asked her to dance and again, and again, she accepted. They twirled in the of a thousand candles under twinkling crystal chandeliers. She tried to make herself prettier than she had been. Her natural humility made her nervous about rejection.
She arrived at the hotel; it was, of course, the grandest in the capital. She was afraid to go inside. She was sure she would be turned away. She gave her name to an attendant with a uniform that might have cost more than her dress.
She followed him through the labyrinth hallways. She could hear the muffled laughter. The attendant knocked at the door, and a man with a wide grin across a melon sized head answered.
"Ah, yes, the Captain's girl! Please come in!"
"The Captain's girls?!" She repeated to herself. The words made her cheeks burn. She walked into the room, and the door closed behind her. It was crowded with society types. Men in pressed suits and medals that shimmered almost as bright as the women's dresses.
A glass of champagne was thrust in her hand, and her prince charming came to meet her. He asked about her, but she mostly listened to him talk while he went through glass and glass of champaign, always insisting she keep up!
When her eyes glazed and the room started to spin, he offered to take her somewhere quiet. He lead her by the hand ad she could feel the eyes of everyone in the room following them until he quietly closed the door behind her.
"I'm sorry I think I might be ill," she mumbled.
"Don't worry, it will be over soon," he growled.
In barely a few moments, the dream became a nightmare, the hero, a monster, and the naive girl a broken woman.