Where Chaos Reigns

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The Letter

August 12th, 1944

Dear Mrs. Taylor,

I don't know if Patrick ever mentioned me since he told us that he wasn't in the habit of writing about the people he's come to know in England and France. My name is Arthur Hartigan and I'm from New Brunswick like yourself but up St. John way.

Patrick was a fine man and you couldn't have hoped for a better soldier then him. I remember quite fondly how he would always try to raise our spirits, loudly declaring that us bogtrotters must stick together. I'm never one to talk much but Patrick seemed to understand that and stuck by me no matter what.

I wasn't with Patrick before he died; I had lost sight of him in the confusion of battle but the medics in the company told us that he did not suffer. He death was quick and painless.

I could go on and tell you that you're husband died for his country and did his duty splendidly well but you know that already.

Everyone who knew Patrick will surely miss him . We shall miss his assurance and calm composure. However, we know there is a place missing at your table and we all give you our deepest sympathies and condolences.

Sincerely yours,

Arthur Hartigan

I stare down at my writing, wondering if what I wrote is good enough. I tried to be as sympathetic as possible without sounding too formal, too graphic or too phony. I get up and wait for a column of tanks to pass before I cross the street to find Grayson.

Grayson's sitting on the steps of a shop, speaking to an elderly civilian man so I wait politely until the two are done talking. They both look to me and only Grayson gives me a curt nod. "Hey Hartigan."

I hold up the letter and hand it to him. "I'm writing to Taylor's wife but I don't know if what I wrote is good enough."

Grayson's eyes scan over the letter. After several minutes of his eyes scanning back and forth across the page, he hands the letter back to me. "Sounds good to me." Grayson shrugs. "You're the man of letters here Hartigan, not me."

Gee thanks. I think to myself. I wish Flynn was here. He would know how to reassure me on such matters; he was the only other person besides Taylor who could do that. I could talk to Captain Scottoline (Scott for short) since he is the only officer in this man's army that I can withstand but a part of me decides against it.

With a heavy heart, I tuck the letter in my pocket for safe-keeping until I can send it.

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