A boy ran to the top of the hill. Out of his breath, he stopped.
In the distance, under an enormous mushroom plume, the town was smeared with dark clouds. His house, his school, and the river that ran through the city were swallowed up, and the clouds slithered.
He heard the murmuring voice of cicadas fading and thought of his father who was away fighting in the war and of his mother who was already frail.
The boy and his mother stayed with relatives in the countryside. They moved from one place to another so that they wouldn’t impose. Every time they moved, their belongings and his mother lost weight.
“Once your father comes back, we’ll be okay,” his mother said.
So, the boy went up the hill every day and waited for his father.
The boy sat on the top of the hill and watched the sun go down behind the now naked city, and a silhouette of a scraggy figure emerged.
The filthy uniform and unkempt beard clouded the returning soldier’s demeanor.
The boy, however, recognized the glasses.