[ a moment alone ]

by pfc kory

Martin sat on the corner of THEIR bed, watching his hands shake. He had to get control of himself before he faced all those people. She was an Army wife, he wouldn't disgrace her by falling apart at her funeral. She'd have kept herself together were this his funeral, and he, after all, was a General in the United States Army. Generals don't fall apart.

"Shape up soldier," he ordered, pulling himself to attention.

Moving over to the mirror, he adjusted his uniform, again. He could see the family photos on the wall behind him. Well, they were sort of the family - her and Myron. He'd never cared for having all the clutter on the walls, but she'd always insisted - had to have pictures of Myron everywhere. Maybe she was just trying to remind him that he had a family - not that he'd ever forgotten. He was a soldier, damn it, his duty came first. But they'd always been there, in the back of his mind. Always.

Myron - the somber face stared at him from the photos. What did he do with Myron? He was his mother's boy - always had been. Of course, Martin hadn't really been around, so what could he expect. Now it was just the two of them, and the boy hated him. He could see it in his eyes, hear in every inflection of his voice. Myron blamed him - could barely look at him, the anger seethed so intensely.

Martin blamed himself. He always figured there'd be time to rebuild their relationship. He'd be able to show her how much he loved her. They'd grow old together and he could spend all those years making up for the ones they missed together. How could she take that away from him? How could she leave him with this boy that hated him? What sort of future did she expect him to have now? Maybe that was it. She was giving him back what he'd given her - loneliness and bitterness.

"Martin?" came a voice from the other side of the door, "We're ready to go."

He tugged on his dress jacket and brushed away a stray piece of lint. Then he picked up his hat and reached for the door handle, his hand shook.

"Enough of that, soldier." He was a General in the United States Army, Generals don't fall apart.

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