Memorial Day 2015–May We Continue to Earn the Freedom Others Have Sacrificed For

tomb-soldier-in-snow

It’s been a few years since I posted any material from the novel that gives this blog its name, but I thought today would be fitting to include this bit, as we remember the men and women who have defended our freedom.  Here, a lawyer who is eighty years old and more remembers his younger days.

Excerpt from Clotho’s Loom (2012):

“You see, this is not my first time around the

block. The firm wasn’t always so fortunate or selective

in its clientele, especially in the early days. My father

didn’t want to see me drafted into Germany or Italy. He

lost his own father and two brothers in the Great War,

and had to do things himself he wouldn’t talk to me

about. I know that poison gas burned his lungs, in the

trenches: it crippled, and eventually killed him–fifty

years later, true, but he should have lived longer.  He

was ten years younger than I am now.”  He stared out

past the immediate vicinity of blocks and buildings for a

moment, something catching in his throat, and Nexus

recognized that pause–for she had a husband who also

had a father in a veteran’s cemetery, out there

somewhere. “Whenever I studied his ravaged face, and

the face of every man like him, I knew for each and

every one, there were three dead men I couldn’t see

standing behind, and that I owed my very way of life to

them. I always felt restless in that Cambridge library,

while other men my own age defended me against the

new fascists, but Father wouldn’t hear of me seeking a

commission. I took my degree, I came here. To the

homefront, he said. ‘To fight on the homefront.’”

He returned his gaze to the more shallow

tableau before him—just another day, many would have

thought. Much had changed, naturally. But Wright had

the faculty of perceiving the town much as an old man

sees his wife of many years—still that young bride he

married, years before.

“In Mr. Domino I found—or assumed, I

suppose—a kindred spirit. Oh, we’re temperamentally

at odds, I admit. He escaped dreadful devastation as a

lad, and it wasn’t his lot to serve in Vietnam. I was

happy for him—my adopted brother, in a way. As his

last act, Father got him out of it somehow–I never

inquired. Never insisted. What right had I to? But I

could see him, even as a young man, fighting a war

every day. His fire. I could harness that. Later, he took

it out on the corporations, and in those days that was a

good thing. We did volume: had a lot of blue-collar

work come through, class-action and even some anti-

trust stuff. Us versus Them, we used to say.  It was

smashing to be young.  We could even afford pro bono

cases, a few: got money for disabled GIs. All together,

lucrative enough to keep us going, and still on the right

side. Domino ran our little army: he was a soldier like I

could never be.” Wright seemed at the point of finishing,

as if the series of recollections wearied him.

“I just pick the wars, but he fights them. And

now, you,” he added, turning toward her again with

hope, or as much hope as anyone who has seen the

better part of a century can have.

bougainville-mud

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