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To Gabrielle’s question about the Coast Guard Memorial Jenny asked, “Is it like a pyramid thing? I think it’s in the distance off to our left.”

“Our left?! Then we’re not on Jessup because it would be closer. We must be on Pershing. That’s okay, we can just stay on this until we get to the next intersection. That should be Grant. So how did your husband die? Larry, right?”

Gabrielle heard the sigh, the sniff of repressed tears and then the answer of, “His squad was out on patrol in the Korengal Valley when they took fire. Larry was killed right away. He didn’t suffer. That’s what I was told,” she whispered.


“Oh. I forgot! You look so young I thought you were here for your husband, too. Yes, Afghanistan. Your brother was in Iraq? Or Kuwait? Did you say?”

“I don’t think I did,” she lied to put the other woman at ease. “Iraq. He was artillery. Killed in battle too.”

“Hooah. At least Shield did what it was supposed to. Iraq out and Kuwait safe. I’m still not sure why we’re in Afghanistan. So! Enough of that! How’d you go blind?”

“Hereditary disease. Something called Stargardt’s. How is it living with Larry’s folks? How long have you been there?”

The silence that followed Gabrielle’s question told her more than the answer that followed. “I moved in with Pearl and Henry when Larry deployed. We were doing okay down in Damascus. I worked in a sports outfitter. Retail. Didn’t pay much but we liked it. Nice place to live.”

“Damascus? As in Syria!?”

“Oh, Lord no! Virginia! Just north of Tennessee? Beautiful part of the country, but when Larry got stationed at Fort Belvoir I moved in with his folks to be close to him. It was nice. At first.”