Footprints on the Sand 4 (Chapters 5 – 7)



I feel so sorry for Poppy. After putting up with her husband’s fiascoes and irregular way of life for years, she hasn’t got any rewards rather the opposite. I can’t say whether she was unhappy with Ralph in their errant life, bu we haven’t seen Ralph ever wondering about his wife and her feelings. She left her whole family to marry him, and she put up with his peculiar projects and restlessness. Now that they are safe in England, Ralph is irritated and complaining. Faith invites him to spend some time in London with her and introduces him to some friends. Ralph, who has always been gregarious and fond of having an entourage around him, feel at home with people who actually use him for their own amusement. Poppy now knows that her husband is having an affair; she found a note with the questions “Are you already missing me?” signed by L, and suspicious, she followed him on one of his long strolls and spied him phoning someone from a public booth and talking for hours. Now Poppy knows that Ralph is not just flirtatious, which has happened before, but he is in love with someone else. I think the woman is Linda Carpenter, the woman who propositioned to Jake but he refused her. Linda is married and her husband is in Africa, and we get the impression that she is quite shallow and self-centred. In a way, she should be the perfect match for Ralph, who I also think is selfish because he has never been a support for Poppy and has never cared much about his wife’s feelings. Now he goes as far as betraying her that way. I think Poppy is a much better person, but she is still in love. So she is afraid to confront him because she fears she will lose her husband to this new woman. To be honest, I think that Poppy deserves much more than Ralph, but it is sad that their love story could end up like this.

Faith is now working in the ambulances, and she has had some difficult experiences. For example, one night when she and her partner Bunty were patrolling the city, Bunty asked her to stop the car as she wanted to check on her mother. The woman was only gone a minute when a bomb fell and the house was destroyed. I think that traumatised Faith to the point that from then on she started having black outs and hours she couldn’t account for. Faith thinks that she is going mad and is afraid of going to a doctor or telling anyone. Then Guy, who she sees in her line of work, turns up in her flat, and it is him that coaxes her into telling him what is bothering her. After listening to her, he concludes that Faith is not going mad, but tiredness is making forget things and parts of the day. From then on she doesn’t have another episode again, and she muses that it seems as if the only thing that she had to do was tell Guy. This could be compared to the time when the snake bit him. Guy was there to suck the poison out and save her life, and now he has also been there to save her in another way.

I am glad that Faith and Guy have made up. Guy has realised she has treated Faith horribly when in reality he should be grateful for everything Faith and her family did for him every summer. Guy admits that he was jealous when he saw her with Rufus, and when Ralph and Faith invited him and Eleanor to dinner, he was quite offensive, claiming that she might be sleeping with half of London. So now he eats humble pie and even admits that he had been jealous of her friendship with Rufus. I think that this jealousy runs deeper than that. His relationship with his wife Eleanor is not the passionate one he thought it would be. Eleanor doesn’t seem to be interested in having marital relations, and she has let him know that she doesn’t want any more children. She is not very keen on their son, and Guy is the only one who feels his child’s absence more. I have the suspicion that now that Guy and Faith have rekindled their friendship, he might realise that he has feelings other than brotherly love for Faith, and if his wife doesn’t give him the affection he needs, Eleanor might be pushing him to Faith’s arms.

Jake is stationed in the north of England, and even though he is eager to join the fight, his superiors don’t think that he is fit to do any fighting. Then he learns that the reason why he is not sent to France is because his superiors don’t think he is a real British soldier, given that he fought with the Communists in Spain and he has always lived abroad. So after realising that he has no hope to do any fighting, he starts living the life, enjoying the women and becoming the prankster of the place.

Nicole has married David and moved to the big house with her mother-in-law. David spends long periods of time in London as he works for the Treasury, and the house has become a billet for soldiers. Nicole openly plays and flirts with the men in the house, especially with Johnny, a Canadian soldier, and Thierry, who comes from Belgium. The men feel attracted to her, and it is not important that she is pregnant. In reality, Nicole, who is still very young, is still in disbelief that she is going to become a mother, and deep down she doesn’t really want the baby. I think that Nicole loves David, but she is too young to know what she is doing. So it is natural that someone like Nicole, who has always been quite flighty, wants to enjoy herself with other men even though she might think that her flirting is wholesome.


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