The wind whipped like the tail of a dragon, stinging my cheekbones with a snap and drawing water to my eyes. Most of the snow had melted by now, sparing just a few patches, but the grass that showed was yet lifeless and brown. Spring had not yet come on this April day.
Suddenly my body that had been numbed to stillness jumped as a deafening shot broke through the sounds of sniffing noses and choked back sobs. Everyone halted and exactly twenty more followed.
And then, nothing but the lonely sound of a bugle could be heard, followed by an echo off in the distance. They were the same familiar notes that symbolized a part of who my grandfather was. He wasn’t just my grandfather for the ten years that I knew him, he was a national hero. He had lived a lifetime well before I ever knew him. He had touched many lives. I realized how many stories I never had the chance to hear. How many questions I never had asked. What was his favorite game as a kid? What did he think the first time he saw my grandmother? Was he ever scared he wouldn’t ever come home during the war? How did he ever get out of bed again after losing his first born son? It was a life that was now done- and would no longer exist if the memories were not kept alive by those closest to him.
As I watched them delicately fold the flag into a perfect triangle, I felt the stiff arm of my cousin wrap around my shoulder and squeeze, showing the extent of affection tough country men were allowed to show. “We sure had a great grandpa.” He simply stated.
No truer words were ever spoken. It was then that I gave my tears permission to fall, knowing there was no use in trying to hold back any longer.
The above was written in response to a prompt from Write on Edge.