My Father and I are not speaking. He is fumbling with the tuner on the radio. The hiss and whine of Medium-Wave fills the car as an electrical voice talks about Football.
'I'm scared Dad' The words fall out of my dry mouth. I've just left home, on my way to where the armies gather for the coming fight. My girlfriend was hysterical. She screamed and cried. Thrusting my 12 week old Son into my arms. 'Don't go' she pleaded. My Grandmother steered her toward a cup of hot tea - whispering words of strength.
Mum said very little. Her eyes spilled tears over her cheeks. 'Come home safe love' She said. She then squeezed my hand and stroked my cheek. I was 5 years old again - my first day at School. I didn't want to leave Mum. I wanted to stay at home. I flash a grin at her. 'Be home before you know it Girl' The words hung in the air, then Mum walked outside to be alone.
Grandad clapped his huge arm around my shoulders. 'Be careful son' He said. 'Write when you can' I hero worshipped the old man. He had a chestful of medals from fighting in the War, I'd looked at them so many times. I didn't want a medal of my own anymore. I wanted to live. I wanted to grow old. I smiled at him. 'I'll be OK' I said. He nodded and said no more.
Dad looked over at me and then turned off the radio. 'You'll be alright kid' He said 'You have to be' I lit a smoke and we said nothing else for the rest of the journey.
Six months have passed. I am walking down another road. It is littered with the broken dead bodies of Children who promised their Mothers they would be home soon. The hiss and whine of my radio fills my ears. Electrical voices talk about war. I want to go home...