The Hopes and Dreams of Mary Sanders

June 23, 1865

I had always loved him. I really did. Then why did it take me so long to figure it out? I must have been blind, to not realize he loved me back. It was many years ago, at dusk on a beautiful fall day. We stood, hand in hand by the rows of trees in the middle of a soft, flowing meadow.

I wish it was that way.

No. The loving another, was the truth. But it was not how our relationship came to be. In reality, a violent heat wave struck through our small town. Many people died from the rising temperatures. I met my match in a hospital, monitors and breathing regulators surrounding him. I was a 'nurse in training' as my mother called it. My sole purpose to tend to his every whim. Even in his horrendous state, he hardly asked for a thing. We were both rather young, I was ten and he was twelve. Yet, our passion still blossomed at an early age.

"Are you any better today, Thomas?" I ask him, dabbing a cool washcloth on his sweating brow.

"Yes, I do think I am feeling much so, thank you, Mary." He says, smiling.

"That is wonderful!" I exclaim, pausing for a moment before running to tell my mother, the head nurse. My mom was a tall, kind woman. And one of the most beautiful ladies in the city. Her long golden hair was always swept into a bun, and her stunning green eyes were filled with everlasting joy. The other nurses in the hospital say I look just like her, but with more freckles. I take pride in those statements. What's best is that despite my father's death in the civil war, my mother manages to put on a smile for me. I don't get in trouble for calling him father anymore. He would always tell me to call him Lt. Sanders or just Lieutenant.

After rushing back to care for Thomas, I stop to find him asleep. His pale blue eyes hidden behind his long, dark eyelashes. I walked silently to his bedside, kneeling beside his calmed body. I carefully brushed a lock of his dark brown hair away from his face. He still felt extremely hot; Thomas had suffered from a heat stroke and had been vomiting for the past two days. He seemed to be very weak, although he protested so. I felt sorry for him. I'd known him all my life, his dad was my father's best friend, who also died in battle. We played and made mud pies when we were five. He doesn't remember much of it because that was when his mother passed away in her sleep with drugs at her side. She did not take her husband's death as well as my mother had. A look of pity formed on my face.

He looked so peaceful, yet, I knew the heartache inside that he felt. He had one aunt, Meredith, who took care of her only nephew. Just seeing his face like this, without emotion, showing no fear, sadness, or pain, brought me at ease. However, that was a day I would never forget. I still do not know if he heard me in his dreams when I whispered:

"I love you, Thomas Watson."