David rarely sat in the same spot. Serves no point, his mind is doing all the work. Besides, the harbour is so different. Forty plus years will do that.
The warmth of the autumn sun transports him back until he can hear the strains of the brass band, and see the uplifted faces. The battalion – “the mighty 1st “ – is stowed, the deck of the Sydney immaculate, and the crew bracing themselves along the for’ard deck. David can bring to memory the frays of twine dangling from the gangplank. Yet he struggles with Jimmy’s face.
Young men, one and all, brothers in more ways than one, aboard the “Vung Tau ferry” to kingdom come. Sure it was heroic, noble, a service to his country. But a lyric dogs him, a snippet from a song Jimmy never knew. “Butchered like lambs at the slaughter.”
He pulls the letter out once more.