I said nothing, but she went on, "When they raised the flag, MacArthur sang . . ." And she launched into a
rendition of My Country Tis of Thee. I thought she would fizzle out after ". . . of thee" but she
knew the all words and finished the song.
She told me about the war: the ships, the Americans, the Australians, the Japanese, the dead, the living, the
wounded, the food shortages, the starving . . . and lots more about MacArthur.
"What state are you from?" she asked.
Now she had me. No matter what I said she would want to know if I knew her American boyfriend of 50 years ago.
"Queensland," I said.
"I don't know that state, is it near California?"
"No, it's in Australia."
"Oh, you're Australian then. I had a boyfriend from Australia, he was from Sydney, perhaps you know him."
Well ... I almost knew it.
She invited me to the park to talk about her long lost boyfriend, but I suddenly remembered an urgent
"Oh, you're in a hurry. Well good-bye, I pray to God that I will see you again."
I walked a block before looking back. She was shuffling slowly down the road in her blue shawl, still clutching the
plastic water bottles, and I suppose, thinking of her boyfriend of 50 years ago.
Copyright © 1995 Allan
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