I sketched a man sitting alone in the diner yesterday.
He noticed me drawing him and I invited him to join us at our booth. As he watched me draw, he started telling his story.
The son of a minister, he joined the military at the end of World War 2. He saw the concentration camps, ruined cities in Germany, and starving, angry people.
Sometimes a little thing -- a noise, or a TV show -- will snap him back into those memories. Once he woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream. In his sleep he threw his arms out wide and hit his wife, so bad that she had to go to the hospital. He was very sorry, and she understood, but still he thinks about it all the time, and now he takes medication to calm himself.
Those guys in Washington talk about war like it’s easy, he said. They send young people over to do terrible things. And if the young soldiers live, they often come back missing a leg or an arm. And then they’ve got the horrors of war in their heads all the rest of their lives, he said.
The waitress came and refilled our coffee. “Here I am, ruining this beautiful day,” the man said.
"Not at all, it’s OK," I said.
The sun streamed in through the windows. A little bit of snow clung beneath the shadows of the bushes outside.