He could never understand what it was about strange, new places that reminded him of home. Or, rather, of her. He had no home, per se, but he often thought of her. No matter how far he ran away, there was a memory chasing her down. Someone had told him that it was simple matter of survival instinct: men faced with dying need reasons to live. Not that she was his reason; only that he had nothing else. She was a carefully written fiction of the book in his mind, and he only turned the pages to see what she would do next. A movie star gracing a screen of gray matter. His Girl Friday of yesterday, and of tomorrow.
She had a smile dependent on her mood. Most women do, to be fair, but he only ever noticed it in her. He only ever noticed anything in her. If he'd missed something when she was standing in front of him, he was sure he'd dream of it later and be able to pick out the details as he slept. There was a vague recollection of her telling him that his memories were inflated, but such straight-forwardness only convinced him further that those memories were accurate. She had a softly and slowly spoken voice, one that hid experience and education, punctuated by an occasional yawn that was vehemently denied as boredom and excused as the result of being a restless sleeper. Whether or not he believed her, he couldn't recall.
In reality, he couldn't recall much, for he hadn't seen her in a very long time. Such a long time, in fact, he wasn't even sure she was real anymore. Imagination in the face of loneliness runs rampant, after all. And in this part of the world, loneliness is the rule, for it is a long way from familiar. And he wanted to survive.
The warmth he felt wasn't from any embrace, nor was it from the heat in the region, though it was particularly warm. Rather, it was from freshly bled blood escaping from a wound somewhere underneath his uniform. He lacked the presence of mind to be able to find the hole; merely maintained the presence to know that there was one. There was a parting thought that friends should be somewhere nearby, but the notion was brief and more than futile. Were friends here, he'd have been carried away by now. There was no realization of this, for his eyes had been gazing upon the memory of a smile soon to be forgotten. The picture in his mind no longer matched the picture in his hand, but he had known they were of the same face. A small comfort in the acknowledgment of missed opportunity.
In a final passing breath, instead of a longing smile, a hint of regret for things left unsaid.
It would've been better if he hadn't remembered.
"... and death will be my final lover, and life will always be something that I never understand." - Bob Schneider
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