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The picture had been pressed between the pages of their wedding album. Sam didn’t remember it at all, but then he barely remembered any of the pictures in the album.

That’s why he leafed through it ever few days … just to touch some of yesterday’s shadows before they faded away forever.

“Whatcha doing?” Becky asked from the doorway behind him.

Shame flushed Sam’s cheeks, and he hunched forward over the picture. They both knew where he was headed — his memory had been faltering for a good long while. But this was the first time he had lost something important so completely.

“Just looking through our wedding album.” He studied the photo, trying desperately to make sense of it.

A group of sailors in their Cracker Jack boy uniforms stood at ease on a sunny dock. Behind them, an old ship loomed like a riveted mountain.

Right there in the middle of all of them stood Brian. Sam’s son was young and handsome and looked strapping strong, and all the other men were angled in toward him. He was a leader, even if the stripes didn’t mark him as the boss.

Trouble was, Sam couldn’t remember Brian every being in the Navy.

Becky slid a tender hand over his shoulder. He hadn’t even heard her walk across the carpet. She leaned in close, hugged his neck.

“You were the most handsome man on that ship, Sam,” she cooed. “And those men loved you … for saving them. And just for being you. You were their hero.”

Sam didn’t remember, but he’d try. He’d keep trying.

“You’re still my hero,” she said.

Published inFlash Fiction

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