Two Friends Diverged 

To meet on the cold battlefield in a month that felt like, must have been like, their November; never again.

Never again that grin and stretch against the early morning, that cool breath of misty in the air; shaking off sleep for duty and the prospects of a day full of possibility. Never again a duo that managed best in one another”s company.

Upon each suggestion made by generals, those far more experienced than himself, the living friend could hear the voice of his dead friend:

Commenting, laughing or breaking the heavy pace with his more focused, strong moments of motion and action. He knew exactly what he would say, the facial expressions, and the jokes” The memory of the dead friend constantly inserting himself.

But it was what came after the first, amusing remarks that he had taken for granted: The dead friend”s moment of seriousness, when he combined their opposing views together in a bit of simple wisdom that made sense of even the worst things, bringing calculated action over talk and comforting a restless, fearful mind.

They were two extremes that thrived in balance:

The living friend contemplated too long,

The dead friend reacted too quickly.

The dead friend gone, save echo of laughter and imprints of mind. Gone, when things were suddenly at their worst.

And all the while the living friend glared off into an old mirror of water left behind in the trenches of mud. A group of refugee-civilians watched him closely from afar, wondering to what invisible item he was reaching to with some ability they had not, some sort of power perhaps that they could not naked-See. The idea of which delighted them in wonder and kept them silent, as the generals mumbled in a huddle around the living friend. So the day was still, except cold morning sounds, sotto advice and a little wind blowing through the emptiness.

It was no power or wonder in the brown swirl and dead leaves that the living saw, however: It was the shadow in his mind of the friend passed to which he reacted so strongly in silent conversation. The friend who had died for the lies they told leaving the decisions and consequences to him alone. An impression of his friend”s specter was all he had to cling to in a role he didn”t deserve.

It was early, it was damp, and the world felt greyer and cold, the thin light, thinner. His heartbeat, fainter.

And that, he knew, was not going to change anytime soon.

The bleak clouds followed them; someone's unconscious doing. They hung overhead and reflected in the dirty mirror as he stared, catching shards of the mumbling-generals” suggested plans. Between these shards, the living friend placed every word and reaction, every tick and dismissal that his dead friend would have asserted.

Off that alone did the living make a decision: To honor his half lost, and because he did not trust himself.

. . .

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