TITLE: Bound By Love
By Tricia Draper
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Abby rushed down the familiar streets of Berlin, her hair blowing in the wind. She threw nervous glances behind her every few steps to make sure she wasn’t being followed. She was grateful her feet were propelling her, since she couldn't seem to think straight. There were too many thoughts flying through her brain. Only bits and pieces made themselves available.
Soldiers...here...tonight...Papa...Gabriel...kill...love... it was too much to comprehend. Is that person following me? Did that shadow move? Why is everyone watching me? Abby knew these questions were normal for someone who was sneaking away and didn't want to be found. She felt they were especially true for her at that moment.
Before she knew it, she was at the corner where she turned to go into the ally. Just to be safe though, she decided to go up one more block, circle around, and come from the other direction, in case someone was following her.
"Abigail, are you alright?" Gabriel asked, alarmed that she had come from the other direction.
"I am now," she replied as he pulled her close and kissed her. They had done this a dozen times; snuck away, met in the alley, talked, held each other, and kissed. To Abby and Gabriel, it always felt like the first time.
"Did anyone follow you?" he asked, genuinely concerned.
"Not that I could see," she replied honestly. She decided not to tell him about her fears on the way over. They seemed silly now that she was in his arms.
"I should never have asked you to come. Not today. Not like this." Abby saw tears come to Gabriel's eyes. She knew he loved her more than anything, and his watery eyes proved it all the more.
"I know how much of a risk it is coming here, but there is no other way. We have to do it tonight. There is simply no other way." Abby knew she was rambling, but there was so much going on.
"I know. You realize, Abby, we will not have much of a honeymoon. I just love you so much, and I want to be your husband in the eyes of God. I hate making you sneak around like a woman of the night. I want to honor you."
Abby and Gabriel both held each other and cried softly, waiting for the sun to set. Each was lost in thought.
Abby thought back over the past six months. She and Gabriel had met and fallen in love instantly. They had tried talking to her Papa about marriage, but he had forbidden it.
"I will not have it. No daughter of mine is going to marry one of them. Abigail, you are a Jew. He is a Christian. No, and that is final!"
Abigail had always obeyed her Papa, so she and Gabriel decided not to see each other anymore. They both spent hours of time in prayer. Abby had learned so much from Gabriel about God, and she had come to develop a very close relationship with Him. They both prayed for God to direct their lives, and lead them down the right paths. God heard and answered their prayers by leading them back to each other, and straight towards Him. Since neither one could bear to break her Papa's heart, they met in an alley behind the bakery shop downtown. The store owner, the mutual friend who had introduced them to each other, had stacked some crates together with enough room for them to go behind to be completely hidden from view.
Abigail knew Gabriel hated having to sneak and lie, mostly for her sake. She also knew he wouldn’t take her to his one room home, because they both might be tempted to do more that kiss and hold each other. She also hated the rats and roaches that usually kept him company. They had both decided they were not going to make love until they were married. He would not dishonor God or her that way. Abby knew she was very blessed to have someone like him. She had strived to save herself for her husband. It was difficult at times to keep the young men off, being as beautiful as she was. Everyone loved the chestnut hair that spilled down her back, her huge, deep-set chocolate eyes, and flawless smooth skin. She was by far the most sought after eighteen-year-old girl in the city. Many young men dreamt of holding her perfect curves. Her radiant smile brightened everyone's day, and was kept from no one. Abby had her eyes on the Lord, and seemed to pay no attention to the fools who only saw her body.
Gabriel was so different from those guys. When he looked at her, he wasn’t looking at her flesh but into her heart. He was the first to admit how beautiful she was, but when he said it, she knew he was speaking of both inside and out.
Gabriel was different in many ways. He was the only American she really knew. He was a strong, handsome man of twenty-four. His wavy brown locks of hair made his intelligence shine from the inside out. He was nothing like the staunchly young men in Berlin. His eyes were always sparkling, laughing, and overflowing with love. In fact, today was only the second time she had seen him cry. She remembered the first time as if it were yesterday. Papa had rejected Gabriel’s offer to love and cherish her forever, by asking for her hand in marriage. Abigail had never seen a man cry before, especially in front of another man, but Gabriel had cried unashamedly, right in front of her Papa. Yet, he was so strict, that he told Gabriel to get out of his house and never return.
How trivial that all seems now, her mind fast forwarding to the events earlier that day.
'It can't be,' was the only thought that she could comprehend, when she heard the news. One of the close family friends had burst through the door this morning.
"They are gone!" he shouted, his body shaking uncontrollably. Papa pulled out a chair for him, just as he was about to collapse. After a moment, he was again able to speak clearly. "Last night, soldiers from Hitler's Army came and took away families. They separated the men and women, and took them to separate places. They came to about fifty houses, all Jews, and took them away. No one knows where they are going, but it can't be any place good, with that Devil in charge of it. I came as fast as I could. We have to leave or hide or something," he finished, completely drained.
Papa, Mama, and I just stood there looking at him. We were not sure if we should believe him, or if this was just another one of the jokes he liked to play on us. One look at his ghostly white face told us this was no joke. Papa, being the same proud man he always was, said no way was he going to let anyone scare him away from his home and everything he had worked for all his life. "Let those stupid soldiers come. I'll put up a fight until the end. This house is as good of a place as any to die," he had huffed.
"His stubbornness is going to kill us, Mama," Abby had cried.
"Hush now, child. He is only trying to do what he thinks is best for his family," her Mama reprimanded.
Abby paced around the house trying to keep some of her sanity in check. She became incredibly worried about Gabriel, until she received his message. The baker sometimes brought messages to her from Gabriel when he brought their bread. The message said to meet Gabriel in their place just before sundown. He was going to get a preacher to marry them tonight. They both knew Hitler wanted Gabriel to join his Army, since he had been a decorated soldier in the states. It was only a matter of time before they came to get him.
"Are you ready?" His simple question broke their silence, and she realized it was already dark. He led her through the streets to the back entrance of the church he attended every Sunday.
When Gabriel finished the secret knock, Brother Mark came and opened the door for the couple.
"Did anyone follow you?" he asked cautiously.
"No," answered Gabriel.
As Abby and Gabriel stood before Mark, he prayed over them, went through the vows, and pronounced them husband and wife.
Just then, the doors flew open, and six soldiers came into the little church.
"You two grab her. You three take him, carefully. Hitler has special plans for him," the one who seemed to be in charge said. "Here is what's going to happen," he said turning his full attention to Gabriel. "You are come work for us, and she will live. If you refuse, or try anything stupid, this beautiful young girl will die a horrible death."
"And who knows what might happen to a pretty young thing like this?" sneered one of the guards as he grabbed her around the waist, and held her close to his fat, greasy body.
"Let her go!" Gabriel demanded.
"You have a choice; serve Hitler, or watch as the innocence of your new bride is taken from her by my soldiers," replied the leader.
"Fine, I’ll go with you, but you must promise to keep her safe," Gabriel said, hanging his head, knowing he had no other choice.
"Gabriel, no!" shouted Abigail. "Please, I would rather die than let you go," she broke down sobbing. He wrestled free of the guards and rushed to her side just in time to catch his pale new bride as she fainted in his arms.
When she awoke, Gabriel was holding her, telling her how much he loved her, and gently stroking her hair.
"Abigail, everything will be fine. Just remember God is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. We will be together again if it's the last thing I do." With that, the soldiers took Gabriel to the Army, and Abby to be with the other Jewish women. These places were later referred to as concentration camps. The guards at this particular camp had orders that Abby was not to die. She must be kept alive as "motivation" for her husband, at least until the time came that she was no longer needed.
Time went by slowly at first, but then Abigail and Gabriel both fell into the routines of everyday life.
Abby hung on day by day, clinging only to her faith, and the hope of one day seeing Gabriel again. She prayed, helped the sick, and tried to obey the guards so they would leave her alone. There were times when they paid extra attention to her. Sometimes at night, they would slip her food like bread and every once in a while even cheese. Abby felt bad about eating it when so many people around her were starving to death. So, she would take a little for herself, and then share it with the others. It didn't go very far, but it was all she could do.
Gabriel was much like Abby in the beginning, but as time wore on he fell into despair. When he was first taken away, he secretly helped the Jews at night. He spent all day in prayer, and tried to find a reason for what was happening. With each passing day, he lost more and more hope of ever seeing Abby again. His heart hardened toward the Lord, for he blamed Him for what was happening. Thus, he became a better soldier, more of an asset to Hitler, and was promoted quickly.
One day, while on a tour of a camp, he walked up and down the rows of workingwomen, as he chatted with General Grant, a friend of his. Just then, he saw a young woman kneeling in prayer. Completely unnerved that someone who went through this could keep her faith while he couldn't, he went over to her with the intention of giving her lashes. As he neared the woman she turned, and was startled to see someone so close to her.
She knew the moment she heard that voice, that God had answered her prayers.
Gabriel and Abby stood, lost in each other's eyes. Both knew it no longer mattered where they were; only that they had found each other again. When Gabriel saw the thin pale face of his wife, his heart melted from the iceberg it had become. It was now a raging flood of emotion. He knew God really was watching over them. Lord, I am so sorry for not trusting you and losing my way. Please forgive me for all that I have done. Gabriel's simple yet sincere prayer had come straight from his heart, and he felt peace at once. The kind of peace you get when you know a prayer has just been answered.
Gabriel and Abby were both oblivious to anything else going on, when he swept her sickly thin body up in his arms. He held her close to him and gingerly kissed her lips.
"I love you, Gabriel. Thank you Lord for answering my prayers," Abby whispered.
General Grant came over to them. He and Gabriel were good friends, and he hated to have to do this. But from the look on his friend's face, he knew it no longer mattered what was going to happen. Gabriel had finally found his wife and something even more precious. The General could not help but marvel jealously at his friend's new found happiness.
"Gabriel," the General said putting his hand on Gabriel's shoulder, clearing his throat.
"I know, General,” was the reply. They all knew the punishment for treason. What Gabriel and Abigail had just done by hugging and kissing was considered treason in the highest amount.
As the couple followed the General inside the guard building, they walked hand in hand, never letting go of each other for a moment.
"Normally we would separate you, but seeing as how you are such a good friend and soldier, I am going to let you stay together. At least you can have one night as husband and wife." General Grant shook Gabriel's hand and turned to go. "We will come get you at dawn."
That night Gabriel and Abby had their honeymoon. They stayed up all night, talking, holding each other, making love, and just enjoying their last few hours together.
Dawn came too soon. Before they knew it, there was a loud knock on the door. They were prepared to face what lay ahead as long as they had each other.
A guard led them outside to a field where two large poles stood only inches apart. The guard tied up Abigail, as another came and tied up Gabriel.
"Just remember, Abby, I love you, but God loves you even more." Gabriel's words seemed to soothe her.
Then everything went dark. At first, Abby thought she had died, but soon realized she was blindfolded.
"Gabriel" she shouted, beginning to panic.
"I'm right here, darling. I always will be."
"Do you have any last words?" the General asked.
"Yes," said Gabriel. "I want you to know, General, that God loves you, and only He can make you as happy as I am. All you have to do is believe and ask Him into your heart. I left my Bible in my room, and I want you to have it. I also want you to know I forgive you for what you have to do." Gabriel was blindfolded, but he knew he had touched the General's heart. He opened the door for God to go in, and somehow he knew his friend would accept Christ into his life.
"We are bound by love," whispered Abigail only audible for Gabriel to hear.
"See you in heaven, my love," Gabriel whispered back.
©1999 Tricia Draper
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