He had fallen in the snow. Or had he been shot? It had been so long ago that he could not remember. The young man only knew that he was too tired to get up so he stayed on the cold, hard ground. There was no more gunfire, or cannon fire, or the sounds of shouts or cries of men ringing out. There was only the stillness of silence which to him was somehow more terrifying than the noise that had erupted on the battlefield not so long ago.
His wool jacket was doing little to keep him warm. The falling snow hit his face with each snow flake feeling like ice piercing through his skin. He tried to think of something else besides the cold or the smell of blood, like copper, that was so strong it overpowered everything else.
Had it really only been just weeks ago that he had signed up, only weeks? It seemed a life time in between the new faces some young, some old that he had met and all the things he had had to learn. Everything was a blur of blue and grey, campfire songs, marching and food that had always had a slight burnt taste to it or had been too cold which made him miss his Mama’s cooking so fiercely it hurt.
The only thing he missed more had been her, the girl he had left behind, who had cried at the river that was in the woods of their town when he’d told her that he was going. The tears had smudged her otherwise pretty, pale face while the sunlight had danced on her golden curls. She had shoved him hard shouting, “Leave! Go on then, leave! And I don’t care if you ever come back.” Then she’d run away and he had let her.
Yet it had been only days after he had marched off to battle when a letter came for him with a tintype enclosed and a two worded letter that was brief and to the point. Come back. It had made him soar for days on end, and the tintype of the girl never left his breast pocket.
He wanted to see it now only he was so cold that he could barely move. If he did it slowly, perhaps he could manage to pull it out so that he could see her face again. He managed to move his arm across his chest then ever so slowly he moved his hand until his fingers finally grasped it.
A smile crossed his face. He had done it. But now he was tired. The movement had taken so much out of him. His eyes started to flutter as he struggled to keep them open but it was useless. He had no more fight in him to keep them open. They closed. It was time to rest. Just for a moment though, just for a moment…then he would see her face again.