It got so their partings seemed to no avail. Every time Lonnie’s battalion prepared to sail a new problem arose—dysentery in the barracks, a storm at sea, a change to battle plans. Four times she saw him off—kissed him among the steam and clatter of the locomotive, held him until the guard’s whistle, until the train’s slack carriages clanked taut and slowly moved away. Only to have him returned to her

On the fifth occasion they laughed about it. ‘What’ll it be this time? Maybe snow on the tracks—not likely in this heat?’ The guard called all aboard, the train whistle sounded and Lonnie pecked her cheek and leapt aboard. As he disappeared in the steam and smoke, Alice had the odd sensation of not having properly said goodbye this time. And all at once she knew. She knew.

(this is an edited version of the story Soldier boy, published on this day, 2010. See about small stories about love)

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