Monday, August 23, 2010

10. Letters

I came across C.W. in the park again. He waved me over from a bench were he sat in the form of a young man in an army uniform. He was ruddy-faced and mirroring the army of forty years or so ago—dress military wear, not the “in your face” GI Joe outfits the boys parade around in now.

He was holding a yellowed and wrinkled letter and his face was red as if he had been crying. In fact, I think he had.

“What’s the matter?” I said.

“Look at this.” He handed me the worn and stained page and I began to read.

Dear Son

I never wrote no letter in my life so don’t blame me for this one. I mean if it ain’t to good. Yore mama made me.
I thank about you ever night. You know, when I go to feed the cows. It’s the smell I thank. Before I get to the barn I can smell it and I thank about when you and me used to feed them. You was so little I had to hold you up to it.
When I do I thank about what I might could have done before you had to go it makes me want to bawl. A man and his boy is a special thing. Now that you are over there and who knows if you might come back or not I know that more than ever. We don’t know things when they happen. If we did, we wouldn’t do them that way no more. When you get back, we can do things again, caint we? Only better? I promise more time. You promise me you will keep your head down. And you do like Mr. Hester said and don’t volintear for nothing like he said. I won’t be able to sleep agin. Sometimes it helps to take a drank. Not always. I wake up when it wares off. The paper keeps saying the army thanks it may end soon. I don’t. They said that before. Yore mama cries ever time she reads it. That’s about all. We want you back so bad and can’t say how much in a letter but I done my best. You be careful now. We love to hear from you.

Your daddy
Tomas H. Hinton.

I didn’t want to look up after I read it. I didn’t want C.W. to see that I was crying too.

Finally, I composed myself and looked over at him. He was a lot more serious than usual.

After an embarrassing silence, he spoke, as much to the park as to me.

“Can you explain something to me?” he said.

“I’ll try,” I said. “What is it that you want explained?”

“This thing your species calls “Twitter.”

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