She talked of working in the factories, riveting metal to metal, the amount of manicures it took to right the calluses. She said it was like sewing together planes. She asked what the war was like. I wanted to say it was like sewing body to body, trying to hold the world together…I told her people saw worse than me. She frowned. I was not a war hero with medals pinned to my chest. I was a man with neatly parted hair who drank too much, coffee and the other stuff. I could not be riveted back together. This was not a callous that could be buffered away. She toyed with perfect pin curls and commented, with a pink pursed frown, about the rain. I remembered the rain, shiny on the fogged glass of my watch. The hands ticking, obscured by mud. Time was obscured by mud and tin can meals and the cold of the trench. Her nails were a familiar red. She fussed with a stray thread on my shirt, flashes of ruby against the forest green. The forest was darker, greener. Threads didn’t stand out in forests. She smiled rows of perfect white teeth. I remember sand and an ocean and foam that bubbled bodies, shoving them against the shore. A cemetery. She asked if St. Laurent would be warm this time of year.

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