Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Do Wonder: A Short Story

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Sometimes, in the dusky hours, I walk alone over empty plains and take in what beauty I can. So much has changed in so short a time. There are places where I once played as a child now gone forever, while others remain untouched, hidden. But wherever I walk, in the ashen light, still I see a strange sort of beauty in all of it.

You cross my mind now and then.

I think you were far more dear to me than I ever was to you. And I say this with a smile; I am not bitter. Each time we spoke, the memory of it remains fresh in my mind.

I have a good life now, nothing to want for. I have not become obsolete in this swiftly changing world as so many others have. I know that trouble moves closer by the day, and what I will do when it arrives, I don't know. But for now, all is, for me and my own, as well as can be expected. People still need me, so my work continues, dull and menial as it is. My life is rhythmic and steady, and though I can hear the distant sounds of war carried on the wind, I have already seen many of my childhood dreams achieved, so I am content.
I do wonder what became of you.

I met your mother once. Neither she nor I realized it at the time. We sat next to each other at the train station; I was returning to my family after clearing debris from the first wave of assault, and she was on her way to aid in the hospitals. We shared a cup of tea and a few sandwiches, then parted ways. It was only afterward I realized that the nickname she spoke of with such devotion was yours. In fact, it was months later, when I had again made the journey into the cities and glimpsed you up on the walls, that the connection finally dawned on me.

When you came into town yesterday I couldn't believe my eyes. You have changed a little, since last we spoke. You're older, hollower. And there is less laughter in your eyes, so the sadness I have always seen in you is more evident now.

You did not recognize me.

Now I debate whether I should go to you. I'm not sure what I would say if I did. And yet, there are things I wish to say to you, especially if the rumors of what you intend to do are true.

I can see by the look in your eyes that you do remember me. There is a question there which you do not speak, and which I cannot understand. But I think I do understand the weight this 'great destiny' has placed on you, for I can see what it has done to you. How must I look to your eyes, now? In my mind, I am unchanged: but I know I must be, for one does not become accustomed to the feel of a gun strapped the shoulder- and the knowledge that one could need it at any moment- without changing.
How different your voice has become!

For minutes or hours uncounted we sit together, speaking as we have not spoken before. My heart is poured out, imploring for you to understand. I do not speak of your mission at hand, but of what may come after, should your life be nearing its end. I want only to sleep soundly knowing I have done all I can for your soul, for beyond that it is out of my hands. I think my words take root in you, but I have my doubts whether you will heed them.

They tell me you looked strong as you walked toward the darkening horizon. When the thunder rolled I could hear it even from here.

Every now and then I look to the west. I am alright, you know. I have nothing to want for, a thing I still cannot comprehend when others have lost so much. But whatever lies ahead now, healing or pain, I am content for this moment in time.

I do wonder what became of you.

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  1. I like this. Is this connected to a larger work? Or is it just a random bit of narrative?

  2. This is a random bit of narrative, based on a dream I once had. I could see it become a larger novel, but it isn't one I'm particularly inspired to write.... so we have this short drabble instead, which I think manages to capture the feel and themes of the story anyway. :) Glad you like it! Thanks for reading.