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.
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