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1. die

she dies, over and over and over again, every time she has to ask a nazi what he'd like to order, selling her soul to the devil when she offers the wine list

2. understand

she comes to understand that he cannot possibly understand what has happened to her, and she cannot possibly understand what has not happened to him

3. price

slowly, slowly, the price of bread becomes the price of life, to where most cannot tell the difference, 10 francs a synonym for breath in their lungs

4. den

den, noun: a room or hideout where a person can go to relax or be private; the space in her heart she keeps him in but can never find the key for

5. decide

she decides for herself that this what she wants, that the past cannot hurt her anymore, he has no power over her, she will make room for the pain she knows she is going to feel

6. pretty

she is not pretty like he is used to, like he expects her to be, auburn hair and brown eyes and round features; she is pretty like her, she is her own pretty, and she is perfect

7. corner

the first thing he thinks of when he meets her is a music box he had as a child, which played "clair de lune" while a ballerina twirled round and round and round, a ballerina with long legs and blonde hair and arms raised to the sky

8. loop

even though he is in the army, and he is well aware the world is not in a good place, the war throws him for a loop, tinging his worldview red and tilting everything just ever so slightly

9. beginning

his beginning is in bridlington, in the middle of the night, surrounded by screaming and anxiety and the ensuing relief; her beginning is in amsterdam, in dead silence and acceptance and the realisation that she will be an only child

10. ending

after he dies he reminds her of baptiste, the man from the french film she saw in the cinema, who is lost in a carnival during the ending, lost in a sea of people, each of whom is now only a number

11. water

she looks at him with watery eyes and pink cheeks, relief from just one nice thing, her first in a long time; bliss from his kisses and his sweet nothings and his fingers in her hair

12. food

"you have never paid for your food here," she tells him, handing him another bottle of wine; "is it worth paying for?" he slurs out, ignoring the glass and drinking straight from the bottle

13. lip

she learns more about herself every day: she hates beetroot, her favourite code name is rose, she wants to move back to holland, she likes it when he bites her bottom lip

14. yours

"i am yours and there is nothing you can do about it," she says to him, pressing her lips to just underneath his jaw while they are soaked in sweat in the middle of the night, "hopefully, not that you would want to"

15. mine

"i certainly don't want to," he whispers into her hair, when he feels he can speak again, before he goes to kiss her cheeks and realises that she is fast asleep, and settles for telling her in the morning

16. france

"i'd like to go to france," he tells her over strong morning coffee, following up with "maybe in a few decades or so, don't want to risk it" after a few long moments and a confused glare from over her porcelain mug

17. red

she finds his body the next day, when it's safe to go out, his white shirt soaked in dark red, the same red that used to stain his cheeks and make his skin so hot it almost burned

18. rebirth

she is born twice, first in amsterdam in april, and second in belgium in august, when the war is over and the world goes through rebirth and she is finally free

19. torn

his chest is being torn apart and his eyes cannot see and his legs are failing and he can no longer feel the stone steps cutting into his skin and he knows it is all over

20. tear

the radio tells her war has been declared and the tears rolling down her cheeks let her know that she is no longer a child and the world is no longer a safe place

21. chain

chain, noun: a series of collected elements; the succession of broken hearts she carries with her everywhere, like a heavy handbag that pulls on her shoulder

22. never

he never sees his sister again, not after february the 23rd, 1937, when he enlists in the army and the next he ever hears about her and her baby is a telegram that arrives two years too late

23. always

"i've always fancied clever men," she says over a plate of leftovers in the back room of le candide - he smiles at her, so she feels the need to quip: "i guess you're the exception that proves the rule"

24. stripe

the stripes on the union jack taunt him, telling him it is worth it, telling him his suffering and his pain and the death all around him is worth it for the good of his nation

25. okay

"it's okay, darling," he tells her while they're waltzing around small restaurant tables, not quite carefully enough, and she backs into a table and smashes a soldier's bottle of wine

26. cloud

belgian weather doesn't exactly inspire hope, always clouded over with grey and white, hiding the light and the warmth that would make all of this easier

27. lie

the night he dies, she lies down fully-clothed on top of her bed and thinks about him, about them, and a tiny part of her regrets ever meeting him

28. throat

her fingers dance along his neck as she kisses him, just barely grazing his throat before moving them to his wrists when she moves down to kiss across his chest

29. bandage

she knows his injuries are beyond repair, she knows a bandage cannot turn back time, but the only thing she feels she wants to do is heal the holes in his chest and restore the light in his eyes

30. closure

she hates it when something isn't finished, a book or conversation or relationship, but the closure she gets from his death hurts more than any open ending

31. kind

"do you still believe in people? do you believe that humankind is still good?"; "yes, i do, because of you"

32. human

"there is no way to save everyone, darling, you are human, i am human, we are all human, and we are not god"

33. hear

she has never wanted to hear him suffer, but knowing he is in danger and not being able to help him makes her want to stand right in between him and the bullet she knows someone is firing

34. behind

even when she is at her happiest, he can still see the hurt behind her eyes, and he can see her heart breaking

35. yellow

"i like it when you wear the yellow dress," he tells her, while she is frantically searching her wardrobe wearing only her underwear, "it makes you look like sunshine," he adds, earning him a glare and then a tiny smile she tries so hard to hide

36. hair

his hair is in her fists and his lips are between hers, and the world is falling down around her and she can't hear it or see it but it feels so painfully real

37. dry

much as he would like it to, dry wit cannot save his life right now

38. story

he becomes a story, just a story, a story she tells her nieces and journals and world war ii historians, now nothing but empty words and chances she wishes she'd taken

39. wedding

she is asked to be a witness, but, instinctively, she writes her name next to the word "bride" on the marriage certificate, wishing to god she had gotten to write it there when it was meant for her

40. tea

he offers her a cup of tea, like the yorkshireman he is, and adds milk and sugar, like the gentleman he isn't

41. poison

"pick your poison"; "whiskey – on the rocks, much like me"

42. try

trying to live after he dies is the hardest thing she has ever had to do, and on rather more than one occasion she thinks living might not even be worth it

43. her

her kisses change over time, from fake and forced to anxious and raw to a kiss on his cheek that tells him exactly how much she cares about him

44. plant

when she returns to her childhood home, her family is long gone and her garden is overgrown and the manufacturing plant across from her house has been abandoned, much like her old self

45. light

he becomes the light in her life, the light she reaches for when walls are closing in on her, when she cannot breathe or open her eyes and all she wants to feel is his hands on her shoulders and his lips on her forehead

46. melody

melody, noun: sweet music, tunefulness; the sound of the words 'what if we got married?' in her ear on a blustery night in june, when she can barely hear it and has to ask him back just to make sure

47. spiritual

he is almost spiritual to her, he is meaning and purpose and truth, and she gets the feeling she could devote her life to him

48. film

the men in the films she likes are tall and dark and handsome, and defeat the villain and get the girl, and she knows they aren't real but some part of her thinks they're out there somewhere

49. sex

"sorry to sound crude, but have you had sex before?" he asks into her inner thigh, and she nods quite sincerely; "that makes one of us", he says

50. future

their future is beyond uncertain; but in this moment, they are making love, and their fingers are intertwined, and their foreheads are pressed together, and this moment is all they have