August 30, 2006

By Jim Kittelberger

The glider swayed back and forth until finally, I was aware only of the motion and the small breeze it created as I surrendered to all but the pleasure of the moment.

My eyelids grew heavy, blinked, and closed.

I may have dozed, I don't know, until I became aware that I was again abiding in that place where what-ifs reign and hope is the last to go.

I sat in the silence of the afternoon, alone, thoroughly content, my mind a blank canvas until the familiar sound of locusts working the trees drew me back home.

The sun directly above my head told me it was noon and very warm.

Grass under my bare feet, a slingshot in my back pocket put the year at 1944, and I immediately felt the shattering loneliness return. Tears which I tried so hard to hide came unbidden to run down my cheeks.

I weep and remember.

My big brother Ned and I had sat together under this same big maple on the day he left.
He told me once again that he loved me, and when he came home from the war, he would
teach me how to throw a curve and all about the mysteries of girls, as he poked me with his elbow, and I blushed. Then he promised me he would be back safe and sound.

He lied to me.

I grieve every day of my life for my big brother Ned, for all that he has missed,
but in fact it is I for whom I grieve, for the times I could have had with him.

Ned abides with all his fellows who lived abbreviated lives, unfinished lives, unfulfilled lives, while we who knew them wonder why, as we weep once more.

Copyright Jim Kittelberger 2001.

1 comment:

orange egg said...

i know what you mean. my father died when i was fifteen. after the initial numbness, i now think of him almost everyday.. of the person i might have been, had he been there.