She was there, in the doorway, a shape of deeper black cut into the darkness. "It's done."

I turned my head, closed my eyes, as if to return to an interrupted sleep. "I don't know what you mean."

There was rustling, and a moving of the bed, and then she was behind me, fingertips resting on my arm. "They won't bother us. They've left."

They've left. It could have meant so many things, none of them good for the others.

Her leg, bare at least to the thigh, hooked itself around mine. "This is what you wanted."

She wasn't wrong.

The Old Country

"Your father hated me."

"He didn't know you. The war had just ended. It was a different time."

"He never gave me a chance."

"Oh, Lorenzo, really, what does it matter now?"

"I just don't know why you wanted to come back here, back to this country, back to this city. You wanted out so bad. You would have married anyone—"

"Oh, what a thing to say."

"Well, maybe not anyone—"

"Don't think I didn't have offers."

"I never said you didn't, dear."

"I waited for the right one to come along. And then you did."

"And then I did."

The One Precious Memory

It was that beach day.

Carl, ten, wanted to throw a ball with his brother; Paul, twelve, was far too sophisticated for such things, and wanted to read in the shade, but he played anyway because he was good and kind and generous of spirit. I thought to take a picture, but had forgotten the camera in the room.

From there they went home with their parents and then to school with their friends and then with their whole generation into the army, of course, when the time came: Carl to Verdun, and Paul to the Somme, neither to return.