Do you wish you’d learned to kill, or at least fight like a marine? my friend Tony asks.
I say no, there've been enough fights for one life, and before that, murders in my family.
Tony is in the marine reserves, boot camp, when this kid comes up to him and starts talking
about what a fuckup he is. Tony listens a while, he says, I didn’t know how to help the kid
so I tell him I’m a priest. You are? the kid stammers. Give me your confession, my son.
Sign of the Cross. The kid says he wants to go AWOL so he can see his girl before she
marries somebody else. I'd die, he says, before I give her up . . . which is what he’s doing,
she wrote him all that, all he’s talking about, he wants to run away and steal her for his own . . . How romantic can you get? Tony mutters to himself so low the kid can’t hear.
He traces the Sign on the kid’s forehead. Go in peace, my son. Thank you, Father,
I feel much better.
(16 December 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander