Twice each day cars converge on the street out front as if there is no other journey to travel from east to west. Their greed to gain asphalt is visible from the window, how they press frontside to backside eager to move forward. Pedestrians prance and stride on the sidewalks, free in the self-deception that they are not on the same sojourn.
Who thinks about being old when we’re six or seven? Like next Christmas, or going to high school, or being able to read thick books, tomorrow is merely a concept and concept is only a word that small child can’t pronounce. But here I am old, complete with cane and grumpy impatience and seven years old feels strange now. One or two things are still the same sometimes. I still wonder about where you went those long years past. Why you could, I couldn’t, and if I ever would. For myself, I hope to never have a marked placewhere stray souls come thinking to find me, the way I sought to find you and discovered only a grave with a weathered stone.
In every dogwood blossom his face smiles too perfectly. He never yelled about my forgotten homework; never buried my first dog by the fence in our backyard; never went eyeball-to-eyeball with a used car salesman to get my first car. He’s a photograph now, an old one in gray scale. Only I remember how the dogwood bloomed the last time he leaned from the train to wave goodbye.
~Note: Written to honor Technician Fifth Grade F. Peden who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on February 13, 1946. All events but the dogwood and the train are fictional.