Start a story that begins with the ending, then immediately jumps back in time.
With tears in his eyes, he was led away by his nephew. His bucket list had been complete and now he can tell the Lord he is ready to come home.
It all started sixty-seven years ago. A baby on the way. His marriage still a newlywed in his eyes, he received the notice. Six o’clock in the morning; he kissed his wife goodbye. He boarded the old, green bus and headed to the base head quarters.
He did everything his best. He scrubbed potatoes, floors and shined his shoes. He crawled under wires, got muddy, did morning drills. He lost weight, he learned to look but not love the enemy.
He killed, he protected, he wrote letters every night. He shared his love for his wife and child with his mates. He learned of the death of his parents and grandmother.
He fought hard, he fought well. He won. He was awarded letters and colored ribbons. He earned pins.
He was old inside when it finally ended. He was less a leg and carried emotional wounds that couldn’t be blended with the new life he lived. He needed care; too much care. He lost his wife. He lost his child. He lived alone.
He wheeled himself to the nearest corner and watched the people walk by. He shook hands with the little children who stared at him. He passed out tiny flags for those who would take them.
He ate alone. He bathed rarely. The radio became his friend. His spirit had partially died. Days turned to nights. Minutes turned to hours. He gave up.
Room 320 was his new home. Four walls, painted mint green, baron walls, a free, black and white television. Friendly faces of people in white visited daily. A man in cloth spoke from the Bible.
A young gentleman with a heart on his shoulder stopped by to visit one day. One day turned into daily and the two became the best of friends. Dreams and hopes spilled over. A soda in a bottle was delivered. Special candies arrived with bright colors.
He was an old man on the outside. He knew his time was short. One afternoon in May, it was a holiday. The friend stopped by early. He changed my clothes. He put on my socks and slippers. He wrapped a shawl around my shoulders. He signed me out.
I saw the bright sunshine. I saw the green leaves on the trees. I saw mothers walking babies in a carriage. I saw the white, picket fence. I saw the people lined up; one after the other.
He helped me out. He transferred me into my wheelchair. He pushed me to the center of the crowd. I touched it. I felt warmth re-enter my soul. I felt memories flood back. My heart felt as if it was going to stop. My breathing slowed. I felt a hand on my shoulder.
” I wanted to help you complete your bucket list buddy.” He smiled. I returned the smile as my hand lay rested on the