Receding | E. Christopher Clark


The soldiers smoke their last cigarette on the last boat out, passing the shriveling thing amongst themselves. One of them, the one in the sunglasses, he hangs onto it for too long, sucks too much of the life out of it and leaves too much of himself behind when he finally passes it on.

“You might as well have laid one on me,” his buddy tells him, rubbing the drool off with his thumb and forefinger, then flicking it at Sunglasses.

All of them look forward, these men, paying attention to the pal upfront with the camera who is there to make sure they go down in history. All of them look forward but one. He casts his glance backward at the fjord they’re leaving behind, wondering if it would be wrong to say the fjord is retreating, wondering if that’s what they’re doing too. And, if that’s what they’re doing, why is everyone else smiling? The sea sprays up and back, white as the snow capping the now distant cliffs.

Receding. That’s the word, he realizes. The fjord is receding.

As he is. As all of them are.

All of us, too.


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