January 7, 2013

heart290_1The old man picked his way up the long road from Verdun. He skirted mules carrying bread, horse drawn wagons full of supplies, the endless procession of coughing munitions trucks and the equally endless procession of ambulances creeping back the other way. No one tried to stop him. He had been here before and they knew his white hair, weathered face, and bandy legged walk. Besides, they had too much of their own cares to be concerned about this man in his tweed jacket and bright rimmed glasses, who seemed hell bent on getting in harms way.

The old man had indeed been here before. It was a trek he knew well but these days the incline up onto the escarpment above Verdun caught his breath and he paused now and then to regroup and to pull out his old tin of cigarettes, light up another and then keep trudging. He had been smoking them ever since the battle started and the pungent scent somehow took him to other places, away from the horrors of what he lived through.   Read more