I remember this day so clearly. It was January 1967, mid afternoon. I was dressed in Class A’s with my duffel bag stashed by the front door. For some ungodly reason the house was quiet. In an apartment that usually held twelve unruly souls, this was a rare occasion. We were alone. I remember her making me something to eat and delivering it to me in the living room on a rickety TV dinner table.
There was no eye contact. The silence was peppered only with awkward glances. I remember her pretending to be busy working on something close by. Silence. Her back to me, I watched her shoulders rise and fall and tremble as she fought the overwhelming sense of the inevitable.
We both knew what this meant. The once young, feisty Irish girl, finally had to tithe her oldest to the war. One tenth of her reason for living. The bond was being broken.
We didn’t speak because we couldn’t.
I stood in the doorway and held her in my arms, nose snuggled in her swiftly graying hair and felt the life force that brought me forth. Still, we never spoke. I’ll never forget that day. Just the two of us.