The Night Guard

The old night guard, wizened and grey, stood watch up in the tower, leaning heavily on his gnarled walking stick, scanning the horizon for whatever mat come.

 

I offered him a cup of piping hot coffee on this cool, early spring night, the chill not yet gone from winter. He smiled, a warmth in his eyes, a warmth I lived for.

 

He would pass the long nights grumbling about the king, about the cold, or telling ribald jokes, or speaking of the fair maidens he saw at market.

 

But I wanted to know of this man who fought in wars and who had many trying times and who I sometimes heard told off wild and reckless exploits as a young man.

 

But always, he looked into the horizon, telling the same jokes, making the same complaints, saying only things that said nothing.

 

But I loved him, and all he’d done and given me, making me one of his own, making me his son, and I never at all doubted his love for me.

 

So, every watch I brought him his hot coffee, told him of the world beyond our walls from the word I heard from travelers, and listened happily to him.

 

The nights where long, but starlight was made just for fathers to be truly seen, and to illuminate their tales, and to show the warmth in their eyes their sons longed for.

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