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Chapter the Last

“In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good”

-Sun Tzu

The old man and old woman stood at the base of the monument. The obsidian glinted in the sunlight, flat rocks stacked one on top of the other in a low wall, a wall that snaked around the original border of what had been Boulder, Colorado. It was a wall built with the black, glassy rock, built by many hands coming together and stacking the stones in the fashion of the old walls of western Ireland, with larger stones towards the base and smaller ones filling in the cracks and crevasses towards the top. The wall was not stable, and was not meant to be.

Every day, a pair of park rangers, one from the East, the other from the West, would circle the wall, looking for places that had fallen or become damaged. They would then fix what needed to be fixed and move on.

The brother and sister did not talk. They rarely did in the years they had been coming since the end of the war. The fissures in the wall reminded them overly much of the fissures in their own relationship.

The old woman winced. She rubbed the spot just above where her prosthetic leg was attached to her thigh. The old man instinctively reached out to help steady his sister.

She patted his arm, grateful for the consideration.

Things were better between them now, had been better for years. The sister thought that being the High Justice on the Ecclesiastical Court suited her little brother (she still never let him forget that). The brother thought that Presidency sat well on her.

She stroked his cheek, looking into his eyes and finding herself reflect back. He hugged her, and was sad to let go. Each turned to walk away to their respective vehicles, each on their side of the border. This place, this once great city, this was the only soil that both nations shared.

They would see each other again, probably at Thanksgiving, one of the few holidays that each country held in common. There would be children and grandchildren and one or two great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and food. There would be fights, playful and political, there would be food and drink.

Mostly, in the end, there would be love.

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