General

Grandpa moved like a clockwork soldier at times, especially in winter. He said it was the shrapnel he got in the war, somehow the injury never fully healed. It didn't stop him though, he hobbled just as fast as the rest of us walked, often faster. I asked him once, about the day it happened, and his face fell into an expression I'd never have associated with his features before. Under that exuberant personality was someone more vulnerable than I could have guessed. He was in a truck on the way to the battle of el Alamein in Egypt, the side was only canvas. The fabric was no barrier to the metal shard and neither was his flesh. He spent the battle in a Cairo hospital, and likely it saved his life. He couldn't understand why he lived when so many "better men" died, he couldn't even speak the names of his fallen friends without bracing his face to stiffness. I never asked again. We talked about the town garden competition, about radio shows and runner beans. He'd earned it.

General

There were nights Hans dreamed in such vivid detail that when he woke he was confused, forgetting for a fraction of a second that his sight was gone. For the minutes that followed he felt the grief all over, the loss of things he never even considered missing. He'd never been one to dwell on flowers, the shape of a tree or passing clouds - poetry hadn't been his thing. He'd been all action, all hero, never slowing for even a day. Once the sadness became less acute he'd reach for his cane and slowly tap his way to the washroom he could remember but no longer enjoy. The walls were golden stone, the floor tiles the colour of summer baked earth, the fixtures white porcelain. He'd never see his own aging, forever thirty-six in his minds eye, though his fingers would tell him of the wrinkles and hair loss in due course. Part of him wondered if the dreams would change, if one day they'd be the same monochrome shadows of his days...