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For Richard's Shade

One evening there was a book by Richard Brautigan on her shelf. I was surprised to see it. "May I?"

"Take it with you in the morning. You'll know where to return it. Come back to bed now."

I did.

I certainly did.

I most certainly did.

It had been maybe a quarter century since I'd held a copy of In Watermelon Sugar in my hands. At lunch, I was delighted to find the words still meant something to me, although I wasn't sure across that ocean that they meant the same. It's said that every book has its reader. I think when the book and reader are just right, they change with each other, a couple getting old together and turning into friends.

"It's a shame the way he died," somebody said across the room.

Clouds came between the delight-sun and me. "I didn't know he'd died."

The sadness became larger as the day passed. It finally burst. She held me, and sang in a voice like Deanna Durban's.

Lennart Lundh is a poet and internationally recognized military historian who turned to short fiction in his mid-fifties.

Copyright © 2004 Lennart Lundh.