Evonne took the call out of the blue. A farmer half a world away had turned up a set of dog tags. ‘Was your father a soldier?’ the caller asked.

As soon as she had the tags she took them to the hostel. She didn’t know if it would make a difference. She wasn’t even sure her mother remembered. Things had gone downhill so quickly these last few months. ‘These are Dad’s,’ she said. ‘They found them on a farm in France.’

The old woman’s eyes wavered a moment then met her daughter’s with the unmistakable brightness of understanding. Evonne dropped the relics into her mother’s cupped hands.

Age-scarred fingers wrapped around the rusty disks. The old woman whispered, ‘Arthur,’ and put them to her lips.

 

(edited version) originally posted July 8, 2010

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