She had promised she would wait for him.
And she had meant it, too. But he had been gone so long, and the boy from the farm down the road had been so earnest, so persistent. In the end, he had got down on his knees, sobbing, begging her to marry him: how could she say no to him any longer?
He had been understandably upset when he came home after the Armistice, but she had hoped he would forgive her and let it go. He hadn’t. And when he eventually rammed his car into the tree in the middle of the country road, his family laid the blame fully on her shoulders.
And she carried it there, with patient sadness, for the next sixty years. Never forgetting, sure that all her many hardships were her fault, her earthly recompense for her unfaithfulness to her youthful pledge. She worked and prayed and endured, waiting to see what her eternal fate would be.