White linen swayed on the line in the bright afternoon sunshine of a mid-summer’s day. Held firm on one end by the sturdy brick of an earth-warm home and on the other by an old, stout tree trunk, cut and rounded and potted in the soil. Clothes pins held each garment as they sailed in the warm breeze. Every few yards, a roller was found to hold the line tight and steady against the weight of water-damp clothing. Every so often the line creaked, and shook and shivered, and moved another foot towards the horizon.
Nearly tripping over herself, Florence overflowed with smiles and joy as she ran down the hallway to thank her husband. He was there, waiting with open arms and a coy, knowing grin to greet her wide-eyed glee.
Dean sulked. Agitated at being agitated, he sat at home on his hard desk chair after a long day at work. He was dull, tired, disjointed. Of course, a long day had become the new normal, anyway. It felt as if he should be doing something, thinking something, but the conclusions of those thoughts were proving difficult to trace down.
Johnny craned his neck to peer over the edge into the night. Greeting him, rifle tracers glared against the black, bullets whizzed past his ears, grenades exploded what seemed like feet away, artillery boomed from all sides, men ran and shot and were shot themselves and staggered and fell, lightning flashed, thunder boomed and sheets of rain poured down, and sirens blared in a cacophony of deafening horror.
“Welcome,” Anne gestured graciously. Her guests eagerly followed her into the sitting room while Anne rushed to the kitchen to make herself hospitable. Gunter and Matilda took in the warm and light tones of the room, the perky, bouncy loveseat and couch, with green, embroidered fabrics, and the glass side tables, and paintings on the walls, all of which focused attention on the warm, glowing hearth.