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It was done, all these long years of study, the cold classrooms, the interminable nights of reading, the despair when the results were dismal… We had finished, the world was ours, your hand in mine and his in yours: what was more beautiful than our friendship?

I remember how our laughs resonated in the ancient hall. Outside the sun was shining: a summer day to precede all our summers. Our joyous steps on the stone floor, and outside our friends and parents waiting. We would chose our life, the three of us, inseparable, chose where we would live, this incredible friendship, perhaps this shared love. The world was still young, and we, even younger! We were rushing into our future, innocent, blind, defenceless…

He went first, as he was a bit older, and you and I took him to board his train, already full of youngsters like him, like us. On the platform grim officers were ensuring the train would leave on time. There, in the East, that war had started.

I soon followed, and then it was your turn, for, by now, women were drafted into combat. So now, with you and him gone forever, I remember the day we left school, full of hopes. I have my eyes left to cry.

Inspired by Erich Maria Remark’s immortal novel, Die Kameraden