The door opens.
“Coming? Whole street’s out. Celebrating.”
She shakes her head.
He hesitates, steps towards his mother.
“I’d prefer to stay here. With my thoughts. With them.”
He wants to kiss her cheek, but is afraid he might cry. A grown man crying. After what he has seen, survived. Outside, jubilant cheers grow.
“Arthur,” she murmurs. “And Gordon. My lost sons.”
“Their duty,” he says mechanically, “they did …”
But the word implodes, like an unexploded shell.
“Wasted lives,” she says. “The futility of it.”