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 Silent Battlefields


"Experience reading two pages from Silent Battlefields: A novel by Hugh Rosen.


By the time Thomas parked in front of the home of the Eisenstadts, he felt

ready to face the enemy like a trained warrior. Yet he was a peaceful warrior and

hoped that he could evade combat. If he had to, though, he would defend himself

against assault and rescue his captured comrade, as well.


Mathew, standing between Thomas and his parents, made the perfunctory

introductions. The four of them then adjourned to the living room to chat before

dinner. Eva was the first to speak once they were seated.


“Thomas, we’d like you to know how very thankful we are for your helping

Mathew when he was in such a tight spot that night a few months ago.”


“Yes, from what Mathew tells us things could have gotten a lot worse if it

hadn’t been for you,” Nathan said. “What you did was actually rather heroic.

You could have just looked the other way and not gotten involved.”


“I guess it was a lucky thing that I was nearby. Anyway, I was glad to help out.

I’m sure Mathew would have done the same for me.”


“No doubt about it,” Mathew said, “but I hope I never have to. Besides, I’m

not sure I would have been quite as successful at it as you were.” He sealed the

end of his statement with an impish smile.


“How about if we not talk about it anymore?” Thomas said, feeling somewhat

awkward over the unexpected attention and praise. He punctuated his plea by

raising his index finger to his pursed lips—a gesture he had picked up from his

father. Suddenly, Eva was startled by an illumination. It was as if the young German

soldier who had spared her life almost three decades ago during the war were

sitting before her.


“Eva, are you all right? You look so pale and frightened suddenly.”


“Mom, what’s wrong?” Mathew echoed.


Thomas sat uncomfortably, baffled as he watched Eva. She was staring at him,

yet it felt more as if she were staring right through him into another time, another



“Yes, yes, I’m all right,” She hastily assured them as their voices pulled her

back to them. “My mind had just begun to wander. I’m sorry,” she said, directing

this last comment to Thomas.


She hadn’t planned on serving dinner this early, but the need to be alone was

overwhelming. Eva excused herself and went to the kitchen for final preparations

of the meal. Memories of that fatal day long ago marched through Eva’s mind as

she went about the task of putting the finishing touches on the dinner. When she


looked up, she saw Nathan coming into the kitchen. He took her in his arms and

gently drew her close to him.


“Nathan,” she whispered in his ear, “Thomas looks so much like the young

German boy who was in the attic with us the day my parents died. It’s uncanny.”


“He obviously resembles him in some way, and that startled you.”


“The moment he first entered I thought he looked vaguely familiar. But it

wasn’t until he put his finger to his lips—it was like seeing a phantom.”

“And that’s all it was—an illusion.”


Eva kissed Nathan on the cheek with gratitude for his tenderness toward her.

Their love for one another had been calm and steady over the years, if never one

distinguished for its passion.


Thomas and Mathew remained silent in the living room. The situation had

left them both feeling a bit awkward. Thomas was the first to speak.


‘I don’t understand, Matt.”


“I can’t say I know, either. Remember, both my parents have been through a

lot during the old days, and sometimes it seems that even the slightest thing can

trigger off a reaction. I’m sure this had nothing to do with you at all.”


 Mathew was not above telling a little white lie if he thought it would put his friend at ease.

“She sure seemed upset about something. Do you think I ought to leave?”


“Are you kidding? Then she’d really be upset.”


“I can’t help thinking that it has something to do with, you know, my being



“Nah, my mom doesn’t hold all Germans responsible for what happened to

her during the war; especially people who weren’t even alive at the time.”


“A lot of people do, you know.”



“Probably not as many as you think.”


“I’d like to believe you’re right.”


“Heck, it would be like those Christians who say all Jews are guilty of Christ’s



“Yeah, but you’re talking about making sense, Matt. What makes you think

people are so rational all the time?”


It did not escape Mathew’s notice that this was the first time Thomas had ever

addressed him by an informal version of his name. He didn’t want to read too

much into it, but he hoped that perhaps this signified the emergence of a new

stage in their developing friendship.


“You’ve got a good point there.”


“I guess I’m just antsy today, meeting your parents for the first time and all.”




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Hugh Rosen, the author of three books and the co-editor of three other books about cognitive development, moral reasoning, constructivism, and psychotherapy entered the Creative Writing Program of the English Department at Temple University and earned an M.A. degree at age seventy.   In 2005 at the age of seventy-four, Hugh is pleased to present Silent Battlefields: A Novel.  Visit his site at

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