Marcus slung his duffel bag over his shoulder as he got off of the greyhound bus. There waiting at the station were his father and mother. His father gave him a salute, which he returned. Then, his mother’s patience broke and she ran to him with tears in her eyes throwing her arms around he boy- safely returned home. Marcus held his mother tight and whispered his greeting to her. Then she released the hug, stepping back to see the man her boy had become.
They had received the letters he sent them, with parts redacted by the war department, so they knew some of the adventures he’d been through. Though when he wrote them about the experience that earned him the Silver Star it read more like “While under the command of kfskldhflskdfklh and fighting in dskfnsldknfsld some of the men and I were able to ksldks some bpkshdlkh and use them agains the enemy. As a result of our action in s;khdldkh…” But no matter, there would be time to catch up later.
Back at home, Marcus was quiet as he went reentered his room for the first time since shipping out to basic training. He unpacked his clothes and the mementos he brought from Europe. The room seemed smaller somehow, though he was sure he hadn’t grown. The slight pitch to the ceiling below the roof seemed to encroach on him and seemed more den-like than he’d remembered.
He was finally home. The war was officially over. The trip back had taken weeks across the Atlantic and had been helpful, in letting the men acclimatize and let their hackles down before they thrown back into civilian life.
“Well,” Marcus thought, “Maybe Schmitty and the boys could rustle up some entertainment before too long.”
Just as Marcus was helping to finish the dishes from dinner, a braying honk let him know that the boys were outside in Lindstrom’s old Jalopy. It was a disturbingly deceitful little bugger. All of the looks had been wrung out of it in favor of performance. The Jalopy always looked like it was going to fall apart, but anyone who knew how to listen could hear that the engine was tuned perfectly and in tip-top condition. Lindy had won so many drag races that he had to leave Cold Spring go the whole 22 miles into Saint Cloud in order to find anyone foolish enough to race him. That was rough with gas rationing and all that, but he just got other guys to chip in and gave them rides to subsidize his racing habit.
Marcus ran upstairs, ran a comb through his hair and made sure his uniform was perfect. Tonight should be fun. Schmitty said they were going to a dance over at Saint Cloud State Teacher’s College to meet some Co-eds and have some laughs. Probably just what he needed, a reminder of just what (and who) he’d been fighting for back home. Marcus too the stairs two at a time on the way back down and nearly collided with his dad on at the bottom of the stairs.
“Sorry pops!” he said and ran out the door to meet his friends.
“Have a good time and don’t wake us when you come in.” His father said.