He exhaled a river of smoke. Tobacco and coffee rode cool morning air, a smell they’d called perfect. He smoking, she drinking. Just as they’d always done for the past—how long now? Ten years? Longer? Two kids playing at adulthood, until they were no longer playing. Now it was real. Too much so.
“Trouble is, I think it’s a just cause. I just don’t want to play part in it. Do they have a name for that?”
“Conscientious objector?” she asked.
He shook his head, “No, no. That’s if you don’t believe in the cause. I do.”
She might have been the only person on the planet that could say that without getting punched. It wasn’t true. Bravery, or lack of, played no part in his thinking. He chuckled. Took another drag, left the cigarette in his lips, pulled out papers to roll a new one. “Maybe so.”
“I’m kidding.” She backhanded his shoulder causing him to spill the pinch of tobacco he’d laced into the paper.
“Ah, come on,” he groaned.
“It’s the following orders and not being able to do what I want, when I want, how and where I want.” And saying that led him into a corner of his mind he’d known was there but had never ventured into. Now forced by circumstance he took a look around. “Hm.”
“What?” she took a sip of coffee.
“It’s you,” he said from under lowered brow, ducking as he lit the fresh smoke.
“I won’t be able to do this,” he waved his hand and let the match fly. “Talking with you, having our morning ritual. I never realized how much these moments meant to me until just now. It’s been the highlight of my days.”
She smiled. “War sucks.”
He nodded. “Mm.”