“I’ll have it right out to ya,” Suzie said. “Feel free to sit anywhere,” she added, hoping that the old man might find some company.
Esther took a deep breath. She was a writer, not a conversationalist, but both written and spoken word would be required of her to get these stories heard. She began to walk toward the man, taking note of his general appearance: dark shades, calm demeanor, wrinkles, tidy plaid shirt, white cane at his side. Just a harmless old blind man, no one to be afraid of. He looked no more threatening than her own father.
“Um, hello. My name is Esther Lawrence, and I write articles on a freelance basis. I’m currently looking for a veteran to interview, and I was wondering if you might be able to help me.”
Henry’s head tilted toward the unfamiliar voice. “A veteran, you say? I’m sorry, I lost my sight when I was just a boy. Never could contribute, though I wanted to. I do have a story, though, that happened to take place during World War I, if you’d like to hear it. Why are you looking for a veteran, might I ask?”
Esther was caught off guard by the man’s English accent. “Oh, I just… my husband is in Vietnam now, and I guess I just found myself wondering what it must be like to go to war. All that loss and hardship. I’d like to know how people get through it.”
“Well I’m sorry, I don’t know much more about war than you do. But as I said, I do have my own story I don’t mind sharing if you think it could be useful to you. It does involve loss and hardship at any rate.”
“Your coffee, m’am,” Suzie came by with the cup and some cream and sugar cubes.
“Oh, thank you,” Esther said, glancing up. Suzie headed back to the counter and Esther addressed Henry. “You know, I believe I would enjoy hearing your story. I couldn’t help noticing your accent. You were in England then? During the war, I mean.”
“Well I’m glad! Yes indeed, my story takes place in England.”
Forgot to get his name, Esther winced. Oh well, I’ll get it after.
“I suppose I’ll start when my father joined the army. He left my brother and I with our aunt, as my mother had passed away in childbirth several years prior. Our lives changed forever that year.”
A wave of emotion came over Henry as he began to relive his experience quite vividly. Relief is coming.