The White Rose

The White Rose

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Die Weiße Rose (Lizzy Hall)

Die Weiße Rose gleich Aktion. The White Rose equals action, something that
Sophie Scholl had wanted all along. “What does my death matter, if through us thousands
of people are awakened and stirred to action?” (Zimmerman and Burns) she inquired
while being escorted to the guillotine in February of 1943. Sophie Scholl, one of the
most unforgettable young women in German history, was a member of the tightly knit
resilient White Rose Society. The White Rose Society worked to write and produce anti-
Nazi pamphlets. Those simple yet eloquent pieces of paper would eventually lead to the
demise of the White Rose Society and ultimately the death of all the members.
Born Sophia Magdalene Scholl on May 9, 1921 in Forchtenberg, Germany to
Robert and Magdalene Scholl, Sophie grew up comfortably in the small town of Ulm.
Far away from the rest of the world, kind, intelligent Sophie lived in her imagination.
Raised Lutheran, Sophie’s parents taught her to believe in justice and fairness. She had
five siblings: Inge, Hans, Elisabeth, Werner, and Thilde who were completely devoted to
each other. Tragically, Thilde passed away less than two years after birth when Sophie
was about six.
Before Sophie’s twelfth birthday in 1933, Hitler seized control of Germany and
abolished the basic rights of freedom of speech, assembly, and press. Sophie joined the
League of German Girls (the Hitler Youth for girls) because all of her good friends and
peers were participating. Her siblings soon followed suit, much to the dismay of their
father, who was very liberal and anti-Nazi. The family had a history of being against
Hitler, and once the initial excitement had worn off, all of the Scholl children eventually
terminated their involvement in the Hitler-praising communities.
Sophie’s last years of high school were torturous because National Socialism had
invaded the classrooms, and she felt like an outsider amongst her peers. Even though un-
enjoyable could not even begin to describe hoe Sophie felt about participating in class,
she did pay enough attention to fulfill the requirements for her Abitur (the final exam
taken before graduating secondary school in Germany), which allowed her to graduate
and have the option of attending a university. Before attending the University of Munich,
Sophie’s life-long dream, she had to complete her National Labor Service. Sophie
thought becoming a substitute kindergarten teacher would suffice for her credit, she went
to a training course, and devoted the required six months to five year olds. Unfortunately,
and much to Sophie’s dismay, her labor service could not be spent as a teacher and as a
result, Sophie spent one year of force labor at a work camp (Dumbach 47).
Finally, Sophie’s dreams of attending the University of Munich came true. In
May of 1942 at the age of twenty-one, she arrived to her dream school about to begin her
dream classes: double majoring in biology and philosophy. Her philosophy instructor,
Professor Kurt Huber, soon became a close friend, despite his anti-feminist views.
At the University of Munich in June of 1942, leaflets, signed anonymously
from the White Rose Society began being scattered. All over campus, the leaflets lay
scattered. They expressed powerful hatred for National Socialism, Adolf Hitler, and the
war. Sophie, on her way to show Hans the leaflet, discovered that he, along with a close
friend, Alex Schmorell, had written it. She agreed with the views the leaflets expressed,
and chose that day to crossover – venturing down the road of no return. Sophie became
the newest member of the White Rose.
After the production of three more leaflets, the group expanded again as did its
publicity. The Society now consisted of six core members: Sophie and Hans Scholl,
Christopher Probst, Willi Graf, Alex Schmorell, and Professor Kurt Huber who was the
most politically conservative member. Political views aside, all of the members believed
what they were doing would not only get the word out, but also benefit the German
people by getting rid of Hitler.
After the fourth pamphlet was written, Sophie and Professor Huber mailed it
to numerous highly regarded citizens in Munich. Unfortunately, many of the handouts
eventually fell into the hands of the Gestapo. The fifth leaflet, written by Hans and edited
by Professor Huber, titled, “Leaflets of the Resistance Movement in German,” began
circulation in late January 1943. In Munich’s town square, thousands of copies blew in
the wind for the public to lay eyes on. This act triggered Gestapo interest in the White
Rose because thousands of German citizens were now seeing the leaflets. As a result, The
Society remained under close surveillance from then on.
When news of the German defeat at Stalingrad reached Munich in 1943,
Professor Huber decided to compose a sixth leaflet, and addressed it to the German
students. After deciding those addressed should see the leaflet, Hans and Sophie scattered
thousands from the third floor windows of the University of Munich on February 18,
1943. A university janitor spotted the pair and he immediately notified the Gestapo, who
took the Scholl’s into custody. Some speculate Hans and Sophie knew the Gestapo had
been closing in, and distributing the leaflets served as a dramatic act to get their attention,
as though self-sacrifice (People of the Holocaust). The Society had created a system of
mailing themselves leaflets to be sure they arrived at their desired destination. However,
the sixth leaflet was not received, and the Gestapo later claimed they had intercepted it.
Sophie even had a dream that she and Hans would get arrested the night before the sixth
leaflet fell from the third floor that fateful day.
Without delay, they were escorted to prison, locked in their cells all alone. The
Scholl family in Ulm was notified by Traute Lafrenz, Otl Aicher, and Jürgen Wittenstein
of their children’s arrest. By sheer luck, Werner was on leave, and accompanied his
parent to the train station. After hurriedly purchasing tickets for the next available train
(leaving at dawn the next day), they anxiously waited to see their babies, now considered
At 10 o’clock the morning of February 22, 1943, the trial began. Only invited
guests attended, mostly in uniform, even the families of the accused went uninvited.
The presiding judge- Roland Freisler, also known as Hitler’s hanging judge- entered
enveloped in a sea of crimson robes. As the witnesses (who consisted of two Gestapo
and the university janitor) presented their “facts,” Freisler shrieked and hollered. As
other evidence was presented, including the leaflets, yells and shouts echoed in the
court room... Throughout the entire trial, Freisler screeched, he roared. He could not
keep his mouth shut. With one exception. Shortly before the verdict became known, a
great deal of movement and noise came from the entrance of the court room. Robert,
Magdalena, and Werner Scholl burst through the door. Robert fought his way to his
children’s defense attorney and announced, “Go to the president of the court and tell him
that the father is here and he wants to defend his children!” (158 Dumbach). The attorney
sauntered toward Freisler, who had a confused look on his face. But as the lawyer
whispered in the judge’s ear, a slow smile spread across his face. The only motion made:
a simple shake of the head. Robert Scholl had been shut down.
After the verdict of death had been decided, three accused arrived back at their
cells. Friesler wanted their death to happen privately and immediately. It was decided
upon to use the guillotine just outside the prison gates. Sophie was the first to be
executed. She went, led by guards, calmly from her cell, and shortly laid down on the
wooden deathbed with Hans and Christopher just outside. One sickening thud of the
blade and it was over…
Sophie and Hans’ death was celebrated later by dropping copies of the sixth
leaflet all over Germany. A toll was taken on the Scholl family after Sophie and Hans’
execution. Inge was sent to a concentration camp, and was lucky enough to survive
to tell the tale. She even wrote a book telling the story of her sibling’s trial. Werner
was announced Missing in Action and was presumed dead in June of 1944. The third
Scholl child, Elisabeth, went on to marry Sophie’s long time boyfriend Fritz Hartnagel.
Magdalene sadly died of a broken heart after losing four of her six children. Robert
continued to raise and care for Inge and Elisabeth until his death in 1973 at the age of

Memories XIII - Conclusion

I was woken out of my story telling revere by the snores of tiny Bea, Oliver, and Jonah. I smiled fondly down at them. Better that they had not heard the end of my story. For them it was just that. A story. And they had stopped listening soon enough that they could invent the  ending in their heads, make it into a fairytale. But the story hadn’t ended with the deaths of all the key members of the White Rose Society. I had made sure they would be remembered, just as I had promised. Making a deal in the dead of the night with a British Pilot, I gave him copies of the sixth leaflet, with the instructions to make more copies and drop them over Germany. It had been done.  In mid-1943, they dropped millions of copies over Germany, retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich. I ran away to America then, not being able to stand the memories that were evoked by my surroundings. I fell in love again, and had one child, my daughter. Just then, the door creaked open and my daughter tiptoed in. Smiling at the petite forms curled on the rug, she padded quietly over to me and kissed me on the cheek.
“Thank you so much, mum. Work was grueling today, and they always have more fun when you’re watching them,” she whispered. I smiled back
“Anything for you, my lovely Sophie,” I said, looking down at the picture of her namesake, my dearest friend, and I could almost feel her smiling at me as she whispered
“The sun still shines, Bea, the sun still shines.”

Memories XII

The janitor dropped his broom and called out loudly as he saw the content of the leaflets drifting down on him. Before I could blink, he’d run out of the auditorium, waving his arms and shouting loudly for the Gestapo. My eyes swam with tears as I sank to the floor. I had failed them. The janitor had seen, and even now I could hear the thunderous pounding of boots as a crowd of angry Gestapo came running through the auditorium, the janitor in front, brandishing his broom. I closed my eyes in misery as they ran by. They didn’t even stop to look at me. I was safe. But I knew that Sophie and Hans were not. The janitor had seen them clearly. I rested my head on my knees, letting out a soft wail. The White Rose Society had come to an end.

The Scholl’s Trial: February 22, 1943
I was pacing up and down outside of the court room. The Scholl family was due any minute. They wouldn’t miss this for the world. Four grueling days had passed since Sophie and Hans had dropped their leaflets in the halls of Munich.  Since then all hell had broken loose. Hans and Sophie were dragged out of Munich, and the Gestapo soon found enough evidence to convict everyone in the society through the testimony of Gisela Schertling, Hans’ pro Nazi girlfriend. (Ruth Hanna Sachs) My mind returned to the day when they had taken Sophie and Hans away. The pain that had followed. Willi had been taken away the same day. Hans held incriminating evidence on his person that not only implicated Willi, but Christoph and Alex too. I had been with him when they came. We were in his small apartment sipping cups of warm tea, our eyes red and puffy, but dry. We were all cried out. Then there was the awful pounding at the door. It resonated through my body and seemed to say “We will take everyone you love, we will take everyone you love…” Neither of us had made a move to open the door, choosing instead to memorize each other’s face, and remember the sweet, happy days we’d shared. Not the bad, and certainly not what was about to come. Willi had known it would happen. Someone shouted ‘Open up – The Gestapo are here. We’ve got a warrant for Willi Graf’s arrest. Open up, I say!’ They had to break down the door to get to us. I held his hand one last time and kissed him goodbye. They grabbed him then, and dragged him out of the room. After that, my mind had reached a point where it couldn’t register any more pain – it became numb. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t speak. It was as if I was trying to protect myself from the pain of reality. Sophie’s trial had brought me back to life. If there was any chance, however slim, of me seeing her one last time, I would jump at it.  Which is why, when the Scholl family burst through the doors, their faces a mess of emotion, I was already waiting, separated from my best friend by a thick wooden door and a Gestapo soldier. Robert Scholl would have none of the Gestapo’s ‘closed trial’ nonsense. Disregarding the soldier who was desperately trying to ward him off, he burst into the courtroom the rest of us following in a stream. I looked up to the pedestal where I knew Sophie would be standing. And there she was. A wave of déjà vu hit me, reminding me of the first time I’d seen her so many years ago, perched, bird like, on the front steps of her building. Tears filled my eyes as the pain hit me afresh. Her eyes met mine, and we stood, locking eyes. A brief smile warmed her face as she saw her family, and then went back to it's stone-like mask. Robert Scholl ran to the front of the courtroom, yelling
"Her father, I'm their father - and a lawyer! I'm defending them now, it's my right!" I looked up at the judge, hoping that the emotional strain thick in the air and in the voice of a father who desperately loved his children would sway him to a more lenient decision. The judge merely narrowed his eyes, a nasty grin on his flabby face, and shook his head once. It was over, the verdict given. From the bits and pieces I had heard of the trial, I gathered that Sophie and Hans were to be executed the same day. My eyes filled with tears as they led Sophie and Hans away. Wrenching away from her captors, Sophie turned, and shouted to her family
“I love you! Don’t forget me!” And then, locking eyes with me, she smiled, and said
“The sun still shines.” And then they led her away. Those words brought me back to the day she’d asked me for a summary of my book, The White Rose, and I’d told her all the characters died. Trying to cheer her up, I’d told her that it was only a book; you could shut it when you chose to and pretend they lived happily ever after. Just a book. The sun still shines. But this was not a book; I couldn’t stop the terrible events and re-invent them in my head so that everything came out cookie cutter perfect. And so Sophie would die. But she would not be forgotten, I vowed to myself as I was escorted out of the court room. I would make sure Germany never forgot the brave, sweet girl who gave her life for a cause that she believed in. The sun still shines.

Memories XI

I gulped, trying to moisten my dry throat. I was standing in the atrium of the auditorium, keeping an eye out for anyone who might compromise Sophie and Hans’ mission.  Sophie had seemed relieved when I’d told her I knew about her part in the White Rose Society.
“It was so hard to keep it from you, but secrecy was top priority, as I didn’t know your exact stance on Hitler’s reign. But you don’t have to prove yourself to me by keeping watch. I’ve always known you were the best friend I could ever wish for.” But I had insisted, and now here I was, trying desperately to act nonchalant. I could hear the pattering of their feet as they hurriedly dropped off stacks of pamphlets in front of classroom doors. I glanced around, and gasped. The clock showed that they had less than twenty seconds before classes were released. I whistled, first long, then short, warning them of the diminishing time. Their footsteps picked up speed, and I saw Sophie right above me, looking over the edge of the auditorium from the balcony on the third floor, a huge stack of pamphlets still in her hands. At that moment, a janitor rounded the corner. I gasped in horror, whistling to signal the entrance of another person. But it was too late, he’d already seen her. Locking eyes with me, Sophie twisted her mouth into that half smile that I’d become so familiar with, and opening her arms, thrust the stack of leaflets over the edge just as the bell rang to end classes. Then she turned and ran away, becoming enveloped in the sea of people.

Memories X

I woke up the next morning feeling wretched. After my tearful flight home, I’d wanted nothing more than the comfort of Sophie’s hand, or the warmth of Willi’s embrace. And now I knew that I could have neither. They were weaving a web of their own demise, and I was sitting by, watching them do this. My head aching, I decided that fresh air would be the best thing for me right then. Throwing on a sweater and some shoes, I ran to the park, letting the frigid February air numb my face and my mind. Suddenly, a pair of arms wrapped around me. Twisting around, I looked up at the perpetrator. It was Willi. He was smiling as if nothing in the world was wrong, as if his friends hadn’t just planned their own imprisonment. I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. Willi noticed, and wiped them away.
“What’s wrong, Bea? What happened?” I buried my face in his sweater before answering. In a low voice, I told him exactly what I had seen and heard last night. When I finished, Willi shook his head in defeated.
“I never imagined we’d have an audience. Lucky it was you and not the Gestapo. Before I explain, I just want you to know that I quit last night – their suicide mission is tomorrow. Hans was taking too many risks, leaving too much evidence out. Sophie had always been there to rationalize him, to balance out some of his more foolish mistakes, but she seemed changed last night – more reckless. They started to involve you – that’s why I quit. I couldn’t have them do that. Even if you had no idea what you were guarding them from, they were still putting you in danger. That was the final straw. I think the group had been drifting apart these last weeks. I believe this will be the final act of the White Rose Society. Others are quitting now too. All you need to do now is pretend like you never saw or heard anything. You can’t even tell Sophie. The fewer who know that you know something about the White Rose Society, the better.” I gaped up at him, not fully believing what I’d heard. A mixture of relief and anger rushed through me.
“So that’s it? You’re just out? What about tomorrow, when they’re putting their lives at risk for what they believe in? Won’t you at least help them? Or try to talk them out of it? I can’t believe you! You’re leaving your friends when they need you the most!” I griped, pounding my fists weakly against his chest. He grabbed my wrists, and said
“Bea, listen, I’ve already tried talking sense into them – they won’t listen! I’ve tried. You don’t know how hard I’ve tried. But what I have to think about now is me, and my family. If I’m found guilty of conspiracy against Hitler, my father loses all credibility. My family would be ruined. There isn’t anything else I can do. I’m sorry Bea.” Tears were streaming down both our faces by then.
“No. If they won’t stop, I’ll have to help. Sophie is like a sister to me. I can’t just let her go off without someone keeping watch. I have to help them. I can’t loose her. I can’t.” I sobbed, and turned away determinedly. Willi caught me by the shoulder and spun me around.
“Bea, no. You can’t! If they’re caught and someone figures out that you were keeping watch for them, well that’s all the evidence the Gestapo needs to send you to jail, or even kill you. There is no justice in the ‘People’s Court’. Please. Don’t do this.” I stared wildly up at him, beyond reason. I had to help Sophie. Wrenching away again, I sprinted for Sophie’s apartment. I heard Willi calling after me, but I kept on my course. I had to save Sophie.

Memories VIIII

The sun was going down quickly, and the night air was chilly. Clutching my thin cardigan around my shoulders, I hurried through the half dark streets, always keeping Sophie in sight. She was hurrying with her head down, not looking at anyone. Rounding a corner, I stopped suddenly. Sophie was entering a book shop. I looked up at the gloomy awning, which was nearly invisible in the waning light. As soon as the door had clanged shut behind Sophie, I sprinted to the entrance, and peered through. Sophie was speaking to the owner. Nodding at her, he pointed a finger to one of the bookshelves, and made a pulling motion with his hands. Sophie walked over and grasped the shelf, pulling it towards her. Suddenly it slid back, revealing a hidden door. Hunching over, Sophie opened the door and entered. The store keeper closed the door behind her, and thrust the shelf back to its original position, and then returned to his post behind the counter. Making up my mind, I reached out and opened the shop’s door. I held my shoulders erect, and walked confidently up to the counter. The man peered suspiciously at me through his thick glasses. Glaring right back, I said
“I’m looking for my friend – Sophie Scholl. We were supposed to meet here to, ah, discuss some classes.” He snorted.
“Listen, lady – I haven’t seen your friend, and if you want to study in my place, come back at more of a reasonable hour. I don’t like keeping these late hours just so stragglers can come in and cram the night before a test.” I was furious. He was outright lying to me now. I had just seen Sophie enter the shop. Glancing at him, with a sneer on his face and his arms crossed over his thick chest, I knew I would get nowhere arguing with him. Finally I huffed
“Fine.” And stomped out of the store. Leaving the building, I sat down on the wall of a building opposite it. I was so tired. I figured I’d just take a little rest before heading home, when suddenly, another shadowy figure sailed past me and into the bookshop. I watched as it talked to the shopkeeper, and then entered the secret passage. Running over to the building, I heard the secret door click. Suddenly, I heard a voice. Looking around, I saw that the streets were completely deserted, and the shopkeeper was keeping vigil at his desk again. The voice started again, from somewhere below me. Looking down, I realized I was sitting on a grate. The faintest of lights was visible below me. Peering down into the gloom, I saw the top of two heads – one of them was speaking.
“Christoph. Finally. Next time, be a little more on time. Sophie has something to tell us,” Said the larger head, gesturing to the smaller one. From this I deduced that the larger person was Hans, and the smaller was Sophie. The person who had just entered was one of their group, Christoph Probst. Other voices jeered at him, and I made out the voices of Alex Schmorell and Traute Lafrenz, others belonging to their clique. Sophie cleared her throat.
“Alright, let’s get to business. I’m now calling to order the fourth meeting of the White Rose Society.” I gasped, clapping a hand over my mouth. That was why Sophie had been so interested in my book title – it had been a contender for the name of her secret society! I had heard about them, of course. They’d distributed numerous anti-Hitler pamphlets. I never suspected that the name of the group and the name of my book being the same were anything more than a coincidence. I pressed my face against the grate, eager to catch every word that was said. Sophie began talking again.
“Though we’ve been doing well with distributing the pamphlets and graphitizing on buildings, I feel as though we may need something special, just an extra kick to get our cause noticed. I’ve had this idea in mind for a while, and I think it will really bring attention to our movement.” A few groans were heard, and Alex said,
“Sophie, just spit it out. Enough with the dramatization. We don’t have enough time for your theatrics.” I could just see Sophie’s answering glare.
“Alright then,” she sniffed, “Here it is. We have to take our pamphlets inside the school and distribute them between classes. People won’t be able to ignore our logic when it is literally right on their front doorstep.”
“Fantastic idea, Soph, absolutely phenomenal! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before!” Hans chuckled. “It’s perfect! All we need is someone to stand guard, someone to make a distraction if anyone who may report us gets near. We must take precautions.” Someone snorted, and said,
“Funny, Hans, it did seem like it could have been your idea. It’s stupid enough. Sophie, I’m surprised at you. Distributing pamphlets during school hours is practically guaranteeing you a spot in jail. And as for precautions, that’s rich, coming from the man who brought his Nazi girlfriend to one of our meetings, and always carries condemning evidence on his person. For God’s sake Hans, must you be a hypocrite all the time?” Hans lunged at the unseen speaker, and from where I was, all that could be heard were a few sickening thuds and some muffled yelling. Other members rushed out of my sight to help the scuffling pair, but their assistance proved to be unnecessary, A thud on the secret door and a few harsh words whispered were enough to silence the brawlers.
Hans stood back underneath me, and continued as though he’d never been interrupted.
“I say it’s a swell idea. I volunteer to distribute the leaflets, and as Sophie thought of the idea, it’s only fair that she gets to go too. As for a lookout, Soph, what about your friend, the pretty blonde one… what’s her name – Beatrix, right? She could stand watch. Just tell her you’re doing a prank, or something. She’ll believe you.” I stiffened in surprise, but Hans wasn’t finished.
“Now let’s have a vote. All in favor raise your hand.” Some movement could be heard from below. Hans fell backwards suddenly, as if someone had thrown him.
“Hey now, what’s that for?” he demanded self righteously. A new head moved into my view. From the angle I was at, I couldn’t see any features on the nameless person below. Hans continued to whine
“And why didn’t you vote yes? I thought you’d agree with the plan!” The figure slowly shook its head.
“No. I don’t. I wholeheartedly disagree.” And then my world fell apart. It wasn’t because I’d just realized that Sophie was waist deep in a plot that could get her and her whole family put in jail – maybe even killed. It wasn’t the fact that she and Hans were now implicating me in this plot that I was sure would lead them to a guillotine of their own making. It was because I knew that voice. The voice that had told me, so many times that it would always be careful, the voice that had told me a hundred times that it loved me. The voice below belonged to Willi Graf.

Memories VIII

Munich University: 1943
I was reading in the shade of a large oak, the sunlight casting dappled shadows over the page I was reading, and a light breeze teasing strands of my hair out of their neat braid. I reveled in the serenity of the moment. Events had taken a turn for the serious and after everyone had returned from summer break. Sophie was chalk white, with dark rings under her wide eyes. She was less prone to chatting, and more so to sitting deeply in thought, somehow still managing to look like a hunted rabbit. She was twitchy and irritable, only enforcing my suspicions of some sort of mysterious event taking place. Willi had also returned grave. His recent trip to the front lines seemed to have drained him of his vitality. A shadow blocked the words I was reading, and I looked up to See Sophie stationed above me, a smile on her face.
“How are you Bea? So nice to see you! I haven’t been around recently, I’ve got this terrible schedule – hardly a free minute to spare,” she chattered.  I grinned up at her, then patted the ground beside me.
“Take a seat, won’t you? We can have a little chat. A little gossip session. We need to catch up,” I said, smiling at the prospect of an afternoon with Sophie. She slid down the tree next to me. I started chattering away immediately. She wasn’t listening, though. She had this strange little look on her face, this half smile, somber little expression that she got when she was deep in thought.
“Soph. Soph! SOPHIE!” I chanted, getting louder as she continued her strange stare. She was starting to frighten me. Finally breaking out of it, she asked
“Are you still reading that book? The B. Traven one? The White Rose?” I glanced down at the cover.
“Yes, I had to put it down for a while because of a busy schedule, but now that things have calmed down a bit, I’m taking it back up again,” I said, still puzzled over her quizzical look.
“It’s a nice title. Expressive. I remember your analysis of it – purity and innocence, bravery in the face of evil. What happens, though? You’re almost done. I’m interested. What happens to those in the White Rose?” She laughed at her little rhyme, but her serious expression told me she really wanted an answer. I was almost done with the book. The ending had disappointed me so far. Becoming less and less of a romance novel and more of an action one, the last scenes were gory and graphic.
“They die,” I said simply. “All of the main characters, anyway.” I looked at Sophie, waiting for another onslaught of questions. But they didn’t come. Sophie had gone completely white.
“They… just die. That’s it?” She murmured. I laughed at her stricken expression.
“It’s just a book, Soph. You can shut it any time you want. If you stop reading early enough, you can make your own ending – pretend they all live happily ever after. The sun still shines,” I said jokingly. Sophie just stared grimly ahead, then glanced at her watch and jumped up.
            “I have to go now, or I’ll be late.” Abruptly remembering my existence, she stared at me with a mix of sadness and longing.
“Bea, I’m – I just wish…” She stopped, looking at me brokenly.
“Soph, what is it? What’s wrong?” I asked in concern. Sophie took a moment, and then seemed to collect herself. Plastering a faux grin onto her face, she chimed
“Nothing. Oh Bea, don’t mind me. It’s just the stress of these exams and all the classes… and summer break was no vacation. Nursing wounded soldiers, seeing what happens out there… it changes a person.” I looked at her concernedly.
“Soph, if you need to take a week off to recuperate, I’m sure the teachers would understand. Other people do it, and with a much weaker excuse,” I said helpfully.
“No, I’m fine. I just need to lie down for a while. After I get to this meeting, that is. I have to rush now, I’m already late. I’ll see you later,” she replied, and walked off quickly in the opposite direction. Narrowing my eyes at her retreating form, a suspicion began growing in my mind. As far as I knew, Sophie wasn’t involved in any extracurricular activities, clubs or such that would require a meeting. And professors never had meetings after hours. This strange meeting that she couldn’t be late to must have had something to do with the mysterious pamphlet I’d found on the train. I had to figure this out. Gathering up my books, I hurried after Sophie’s retreating form.