So Far Away #amwriting

Thank you to Alistair for Sunday Photo Fiction. To read more stories on this photo prompt click on the blue froggie. 

 

226 03 March 25th 2018

So Far Away

You’ll see him on the median, wearing flannel, jeans, and red baseball cap. The cardboard sign says: will work for money or food.

He can repair anything. Even electronics. He doesn’t drink or do drugs. He went to Afghanistan at twenty-six, his entire life ahead of him and a baby on the way.

When he returned, he wouldn’t sleep in our bed. He stayed on the screened porch, nightmare-induced shouts plaguing sleep. The baby scared him. He wouldn’t touch her. I was mad until he whispered: “I’m afraid I’ll hurt her.”

One day he disappeared. Two weeks later, he reappeared, on the median with his sign.

“Remember us dancing in the rain after the May Day picnic?” I ask, handing him a thermos of coffee and a cheddar and pickle sandwich.

“You’re living in the past,” he says. “I’m not him.”

“Remember us.”

“Stop.”

“I love you,” I whisper.

“You don’t know me.”

I want to argue I’ve known him since we were toddlers. He chews his sandwich, hunched, tense. Betrayed. A foot away from each other, but worlds apart, futility encroaches. I wrap my pinkie around his as I used to. “I love you more.” Tears glitter in his eyes.

 

end 3/30/2018

Sascha Darlington

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10 thoughts on “So Far Away #amwriting

  1. A moving piece, Sascha, and I’m not just saying that because I can do a bit of electronics. 🤓I had a friend who went away to a war, a little younger, and when he came back he was lost: his friends, his girlfriend, his life. He certainly drank when he came back, and he would wander off into the bush by himself, until he disappeared completely from our circle. To see the change was a horrible thing.

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    • Thanks, Steve. I’ve seen a lot of it here. Men who return from war, changed. How could they not be? I imagine an average young man who the only thing he ever killed might have been a spider and now he’s aiming at someone who in another life could have been a friend, but at the very least, is a human being. Throw in civilian casualties and I’m surprised that anyone makes it out unscathed mentally.
      I’m sorry for your friend. Do you ever know what became of him?

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