Deathbed

In search of peace I walked into the deserted graveyard, the gateway reminiscent of a far away country, a monument to a long ago war. The sun picked up pin pricks on the iced branches and beer cans half crushed and rusted lay testament to a summer evening of laughter or lone misery. I walked the square, the graves now gone – to India and resting places far away. A bundle of grey rags in the corner lay bunched up, soles of boots protruding scuffed, and worn. Sandy coloured hair on a young man, blue face, blue lips, eyes closed. A smooth cheek and no breath, curled, as if asleep, in perfect peace. Another monument to another war.

A phone call.

He had a rosary, I sat and said a prayer with him stroking his hair as I did like his mother would have done, at bed time; like she would if she were there, though would she be so calm or throw herself over him. Was he here, from someone who would stroke his hair back or someone whose indifference led to this?

He and I, we spent five minutes in peace together, I know his soul felt it.

And then sirens, boots crunching, blue uniforms, green uniforms, a tent, tape and then the boy was taken away, but he never warmed up.

I would have been young to be a mother to him but for five minutes, was a mother just the same.

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