by Anton Wills-Eve

<a href=””>Happily Ever After</a>

the prompt asks am I happy ever after.



Are you happy ever after? What a strange question. Ever is still going on.

I lounged back in the deck chair in my tree filled garden and thought about this question. Am I living happily ever after? I’d have to ask my wife as well, obviously. She seems to be very happy and has certainly hasn’t lost her sense of humour. But the question still worried me. ‘Ever after’ but which of my evers?

Before I met my current wife some forty six years ago I was greatly enamoured of a girl in Vietnam who really was the mixture between an angel, a saint and a deliciously seductive  twenty year old beauty queen. It was what she spent her life doing that attracted me to her so much. She was so sorry for the orphans in the war in Vietnam, especially those who had been blinded or maybe born blind, that she spent all her time helping to run an orphanage for them. Anh and I met when I was tipped off by a secretary at the British embassy that there might be a good human interest story in the orphanage. I’ll say there was. Four young woman with occasional visits from a nurse and a doctor were looking after 54 youngsters aged between three years and fourteen years. Thirty one were girls and twenty seven boys. And all were blind. Anh was an orphan herself and had no idea who her parents were. But she did not just give me a great story on a little known aspect of the war, she also inveigled me into helping her and getting free food and medical supplies for them from the American military. No I am not going to tell you how I got them.

In between writing all the copy my job required of me I found myself spending a lot of time at the orpahange and Anh and I were definitely getting fond of each other. Eventually I summoned up the courage to ask her out to dinner with me in a nice restaurant near the cathedral in central Saigon. She was amazed. She was obviously just wondering what I wanted. But I hope my smile reassured her. It was nothing immoral or anything she would not like. I wanted to give her an engagement ring, and she burst into tears. She clung onto me so hard I could not move. Then, in her half French half English, she told me she had loved me since the day I did my first story on the orphanage and she could not believe that I loved her so much as well. Well after we had known each other approximately six months the Catholic chaplin to the Saigon based troops, who was by then a good friend, married us and my colleagues were really glad. Now this is where the first ‘ever after’ came in. We were terribbly happy for the first year of our marriage  and even had twin daughters, Tuyet Marie and Oanh Madaleine. They were gorgeous and We were all looking forward to going home to London in a couple of months when my wife was killed in a mortar attack on the orphanage. But I still had my children. They were used to death and sadness but this was too much for them. All they could do was hang on to me and cry.

So did my first ‘ever after’ end happily or not?  Well every time I thought of Anh throughout the rest of my life, I was greatly saddened. But when I looked, and still look, at Oanh and Tuyet I am just overcome with love. So I have no idea.

I did not want to marry again as Anh could never be replaced, but my family pointed out to me that I ought to have a wife to bring up my daughters. It was hard but although I swore I never would, I met my second wife, a girl with whom I fell deeply in love and have lived happily ever since marrying her. We have two sons and the girls took to her at once and she to them,  so in many ways my life has been happy for ‘ever’ since I took my last major decision.

But I haven’t answered the question, have I? And I honestly don’t think I can.