Correspondence

The Town I’ve Never Seen

I shouldn’t have been surprised; I’d heard similar stories from my wife.  But the more dramatic stories had always involved someone I didn’t know.  This was a seven-year-old girl giving an eyewitness account at the dinner table.  

“The guerrillas came to Aunt Lucy’s house and told her to fix supper for thirty people,” my stepdaughter said, in response to nothing in particular.  

I must have done a comical double take.  “Did your aunt do it?”  

“Yes,” she said, as she tore a piece of bread.  

“Did the guerrillas show up?”

“They came to eat.” 

She was so matter-of-fact, so calm.  This was just another story to her.

“She fed the soldiers?” I asked.  It was not a brilliant question, but I was still struggling with my astonishment.  

My stepdaughter wrinkled her nose with amusement.  “They weren’t soldiers!  They didn’t have helmets!” 

“Were you scared?” I asked.

“No.  Mommy, why does he call them soldiers?”  

“They were soldiers,” my wife said.  

My stepdaughter shook her head.  “They were wearing caps, not helmets.”

I knew whom she was talking about,...

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