He crouches down on the rock, surveys the landscape as best he can. He tells me that I should enjoy the view – someday my eyes will turn this into the haze of colors that he can barely see. As he stands I take his arm, guiding the old man carefully back to solid ground. He sits against the old pine tree.
Just like he always does.
His mind is as weary as his body. I visit him when I can. He stays up here, certain they’d lock him away if he ever went back. I see no need to push him on this – he lives comfortably in this solitude.
He talks of it now – it usually comes up. His enlistment. His fear of battle, of leaving the country. And how, two days before deployment, he ran away to these mountains.
He stops in his story, runs a withered hand over the rough bark behind him. His cloudy, steel grey eyes close and a smile creases his face. Content with the lot that he chose.
“You see, Renee, they gave me a gun, but I took the world.”