His history is old, and yet there are times when it seems to him like hardly any time has passed at all. His early years are a blur. Being young then, he didn’t understand the importance of paying attention, listening, and remembering.
There was something about The Boy though, that caught him and quickly taught him to pay attention. The life that The Boy had in his eyes was contagious, as was his quick smile and ever ready wit. Always ready for something new and exciting, and always with a bunch of friends, he had never known such happy days. The laughter that filled him on a regular basis, the late nights, the friends and family that came all the time to see The Boy, filled him as well with the joy of living. Life could have gone on like that forever and they both would have been content.
Life’s not full of consistency’s though, unless you count change. A letter came in the mail one day and suddenly the feelings that were surrounding him were conflicted. The Boy showed excitement and enthusiasm that can only be expressed by boys of that age. The friends varied their reactions, the other boys acted just as his Boy had acted. The girls were different though. Fear and concern were felt when they were around. The Father spoke of pride and duty, and The Mother cried when she thought The Boy wasn’t looking. He tried to understand but words like war and drafted weren’t things he could grasp the concept of.
He watched The Boy prepare, and he heard him arrange to have others take care of him while he was away. And then suddenly the day was there that he watched The Boy walk down the driveway in his crisp green uniform, turn for a last look, get in the car and ride away. It took him awhile to realize that he was going to be alone for a long time. Yes, The Others stopped to check the water and to make sure the doors were still locked but the feelings that had surrounded him were gone. He was empty and alone and he longed to have his Boy back. His Soldier Boy.
He had to wait years for that to happen, but the joy he felt when that day did come was indescribable. The sight of Soldier Boy climbing out of that car in his not-so-crisp green uniform was what he had waited for, for so long and yet there was something…..he just couldn’t figure it out at first glance. In fact it would take weeks for him to fully realize how different Soldier Boy was from The Boy that had left all those years ago.
He was once again filled with all of the voices that he knew so well, only this time they were quiet. The voice he yearned to hear the most was the quietest when it did speak, but those times was rare. Slowly The Others stopped coming and soon it was just the random visit from The Boy’s family left to break the silence.
Years would go by like this, and to be honest, they were torture. To know that The Boy, His Boy was back and yet to still be surrounded by silence was worse than being alone. The visits from another green clad soldier would change that though over the coming years. They seemed to have a connection, a past that they both understood when nobody else could. They would talk long into the nights and slowly the laughter came back. The spark in Soldier Boys’ eyes was never the same as it was so long ago, but there was something, and that something was better than the nothing that had lasted for so long. Soon the other green soldier brought another with him, and again and again the memories would be retold until he could remember them too, even though he hadn’t experienced them himself. They knew that their secrets were safe with him. They never shared those stories with anyone else and he was honored to keep them safe for them. To always remember what they had gone through when they were so far away. To suddenly understand why The Boy had changed so drastically in his absence.
He knew why Soldier Boy chose to never marry, knew how those midnight nightmares would scare away most silly girls, but he would never be the one to tell The Others that information. He chose to keep The Boy’s trust and in so doing, he was able to give Soldier Boy peace and solace.
They stayed together until the very end. And when the day came that Soldier Boy was no longer there, he kept his misery to himself. Except to look a little more stooped to those who observed him, he held it all together because that is what he had been taught. You can mourn what was lost, but you may not fall apart. Others need you to be strong so strong you will be. He was taught that if you hold on long enough it will eventually get better. As he sits alone again, he is holding tight to that promise because he desperately needs it to be true.
I want to thank Carol at www.everythinghomewithcarol.com for supplying me with this picture and a brief background of this house. The man who lived here was a Soldier Boy and he did keep to himself. Everything else is a secret that I don’t know, but I can guarantee you that he does.
Love from here,