Railroad Perfection – #3

Harold – I don’t mind admitting that I am scared.  Some of the bravado around here is simply shocking.

David: My father told me not to expect very much, and that I would be home sooner than I thought.  I don’t really believe him.  I did, but I don’t anymore.

Harold: He fought the Boers.

David: No, that was my uncle.

Harold: Well, someone you know did.

David: I never thought I would fight anyone.  Not like this, anyway.

Harold: I did.  Ever since I was small.  And you know what?  I am certain I will die fighting, too.

David: Certain?

Harold: Without a doubt.  It’s strange to admit it but I find all of this very refreshing.  I used to lie awake at night and imagine the impact of a bullet tearing through my chest and shattering my ribcage, imagine it so hard that I could almost feel it, or feel the ghost of it, the future ghost, I suppose.  I just knew it was going to happen at some stage, because if it wasn’t, how could I imagine it so well?  I expect the same is for people who die in car accidents or from cancer.  They can imagine their own death.  The body knows.

David: Are you scared?

Harold: I’m scared but I don’t want to be anywhere else.  We’re making history, David, even if we don’t ourselves become so much as a footnote in a textbook, we’re still a part of it.  And we’ll know.

David: I’m just scared and nothing else.  I want to run away from everything and sometimes I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin I’m so scared.

Harold: The corned beef was ghastly, wasn’t it?  I don’t want to complain but I don’t think it’s right to ask us to die on such food.  They could treat us a touch better.

David: Harold, how can you think of food?

Harold: I’ll think of it until the day I die.  Which might be today, but I don’t think so.  Not yet, David.  We’ll make it a while longer yet.

Part of the Railroad Perfection series

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