Dressed in the Army’s finest, she boards the bus, heading for the unknown.
I clutch the gold locket around my neck. The image of her wide, missing tooth smile and sparkling green eyes is held within each heartbeat, along with her singsong voice, “I want to fight on the front lines!” while parading in her dad’s fatigues.
Fear and pride wrestle, pulse and thunder through my body. My throat is tight, strangled.
She waves through an open window as the bus lurches and burps. Black smoke fractures the pink sky, daring me to chase her, to catch her if she falls.