Friday, March 12, 2010

71. Now is the hour

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.


Virginia said...

I hope you will allow me the privilege of showing these to my photograph classes. I regret we don't live closer so we could share our images, our thoughts and shoot together.

Julie said...

It would be an immense pleasure to know that you could use them in that way, VJ. The distance is a gulf, but we seem to be breaching it.

Joan Elizabeth said...

This is a good writing style for memoir.

Julie said...

But not necessarily a good style for this type of story. Nothing memoiresque in this at all.

Too informal and too familiar, do yu think?

Vicki said...

Hi Julie

Just popping in to say hello.

I like this riff. It tugs at the heartstrings, giving us a glimpse of David’s grief – faded but not gone.

P.S. Love the new description of yourself as “a botanist of the footpath fraying the edges of an urban space.”

Julie said...

Thank's Vicki. I want to explore more the special grief that occurs when you can no longer remember what the person looked like. When you have to piece it together rather than just have it in your head. When you are over your grief but don't really want to be.

Alice Audrey said...

Don't knock yourself. You could heighten the feelings a bit more, but otherwise this is fine writing.