Nano 2011 - Day 13He made sure he got his permission sorted out early. He made sure he was washed until his skin glowed and his hair sat down on his head in damp lines and his clothes were spotless. He polished his boots, sitting on his bed with each one gloved over his hand and the cloth moving in tight circles, bringing a shine back to the leather. He couldn't see his face in them, but he was glad of that. He thought he would look too anxious.
He had avoided Frankie's eyes in the morning. It always took him time to ease out of sleep, but he had lain staring at the ceiling that morning instead of blinking tiredly at the other men and thinking of coffee and how to get to it without losing the patina of sleep from his body.
'You still mad at me, huh?' Frankie had asked him as he sorted through his clothes, and Ed had lain silent, unsure of how to answer. 'We'd both had too much to drink last night,' Frankie persisted. 'I mean, gee, I could practically see the liquor coming off you in your sweat. You were
Nano 2011 - Day 1211.
There was a darkness wrapped around inside of Ed, holding him still, stopping him from looking up at the other men. They asked him why he had disappeared that night and not walked home with them, and he had mumbled excuses about feeling sick and needing the air, but he had made no excuses to Cassie. He did not know how to face her. He did not know what to say.
He sat in the mess, his fingers curled around a glass of scotch, sipping it slowly and letting the scent of it rise up around him every time he touched the glass to his lips. Someone months ago had begged and scrounged a group of soft chairs from the old, empty manor house just off the airfield and the guys had made a kind of a club house in the corner, away from the long board tables, partitioned off with screens. Pete Johnson had painted half-naked girls and airplanes and things on those screens. Pete had been a good artist, before he came back injured too bad to serve any more, but his pictures were still there.
Nano 2011 - Day 1110.
Cassie walked slowly back across the blowing grass, thinking of frying fish and coffee. It felt like a long time since she had eaten anything different from salt pork and sour dough bread, and since she had drunk anything but clear water or tea. She wasn't really tired of those things they tasted good every time she had them, and they were not all she had anyway but the thought of something new made her mouth water.
This reminded her of something. She fixed her eyes on the clarity of the sky and let her mind drift, thinking back to another time, a younger time. She remembered being on the edge of womanhood and holding an egg in her hand, smooth and warm and inviolate. She remembered thinking how precious that egg was in that time of privation, feeling gratitude that she could take that egg back to the house and cook with it or eat it, while others were using powdered eggs or no eggs at all. She remembered thinking with lust of the idea of chocolate and sweets,
RemembranceLest we forget, they said.
And not just forget the men in the mud,
but the men who found air and sea as treacherous,
and those who guided them down safe paths,
and those who shot, and those shot at.
And not just the men,
but the women who worked, and the women who waited,
and the men and the women who died at home,
sheltering in places that were not shelter enough.
Two sleeping children at Glebe Farm.
Those tiny, single losses, blossoming into a field.
No race, nor homeland, nor gender matters in death.
Lest we forget, they said.
And not just those who died, but those who are living still,
and those who are fighting still,
and those who are still waiting at home, with hope clenched in their hands,
and those who were left behind.