A vague darkness followed him as he closed up shop. It was always there, coming closer, then fading. Sometimes it enveloped him and held him captive and he wondered why he was put on this earth.
He went up to his bedroom and sat on the bed. Reaching into the bed stand drawer, he pulled out the logbook he had taken from the dead soldier’s side so long ago and stared at the photograph inside. It was an old tintype, but to Zach, the image never lost its freshness and luster. She remained forever beautiful. He ran the back of his index finger slowly over the image. Tears came to his eyes.
The curtains beside Zach’s bed billowed in the cool spring breeze. The smell of fresh earth permeated his room. He remembered the feeling of that moist sod against his body when, as a kid, he lay in wait for groundhogs to crawl out of their dens. Spring was a time of renewal, he thought, maybe it was time for him to shed the past. Marta would have liked that. But how?
He put on his nightclothes and lay down. It occurred to him that all the years he had spent internalizing his post-Gettysburg experience, however horrible it may have been, might not have been the best way for him to cope with his memories. Maybe, just maybe, if he told his story, he could be done with it.
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