The news came along with the first winds of winter. It was about our John. The boy who had gone to become a man. The letter unraveled in my hands and told me the fate of our John. Our John was not a boy anymore. He was not a man either. The ink that told me his fate was faded. It had been used to signal the official end of other Johns. "We thank him for his service". They did not have to thank. They did not have to take. I retired into the house, escaping the cold winds of December. At least his last moments were under the warm sun. So full of light while we were in the dark. Some of us are still in the dark. His mother. Should she know? It is too late. She sees me with the letter in my hand. It is soaked in blood. The blood of her boy. "What does it say?" It pained me to look at her eyes. They were jungle green. The color of green barets. "He's safe," I said as she retreated into his empty room. Her boy was safe.
April 5, 2017