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pix by csk2017
The fireplace sat cold and alone, nursing memories of warmth and life, the smell of meat and biscuits. Standing there was like coming home, looking at the collage of stone and mortar, tiny green of life struggling at its foot.
It had been a long time since he’d felt the struggle of life.
He never should have left. That was clear enough now, but hindsight was always better and hindsight wasn’t a gift for the young.
He remembered Mama sitting by the hearth, stirring stew made from his catch, slow and steady, darning forgotten in her lap.
No, not forgotten. Mama never forgot anything. She’d never forgotten him, even when he’d never come home again. Soldiers didn’t always go home. They both known that at the time and he knew it still.
Soldiers don’t always go home.
The home was long gone, his life, his world with it. Now, he lived in a world of cell phones and instant communications; 98″ TV’s, airplanes and 100 channels on Cable. Vaccines and penicillin. Boy, penicillin would have been a help back then.
He might have gone home.
“Coming?” Jeffrey asked from behind, lounging in the diver’s seat of their rented Corvette.
“Yeah,” he replied, turning away from the past. Slid into the passenger’s seat, closing the door behind him.
“It’s been a long time since I was in the US,” he mused, wiping his hands on a napkin. “Let’s start at the top and just keep going.”
“Your wish,” Jeffery laughed, driving away from the ruins of the old plantation.
He’d never understood the draw of the past. If he never saw his old home-place again, that would be fine with him. Daniel was of a different mold, one he didn’t often understand.
Daniel looked over at him, never once looking back. “Thank you for your indulgence, Jeffery. I know the past means little to you.”
Jeffrey replied with a shrug. “That’s true, but what matters to you matters to me.”
“Thank you for lying to make me feel better.”
“Part of the job description.”
Squirrel. That was what he’d shot and his Mama cooked. Squirrel stew.
Looking over at Jeffery, he realized he’d finally come home.