Candlemoth
sound she made was one of completeness.
        I
understood that sound, for I felt complete also. Whole and pure and satiated.
        Our
movement was in unison, a narrow dance, a soft ballet of sounds and emotions
and feelings, and all the fears I had possessed about such a moment seemed
irrelevant.
        And
though my eyes were closed I could see her, and her beauty was more
complete than I could ever have imagined.
        And
it was in that moment that I understood love.
        Love
more than life itself.
        And though
there would be times when I would think of Sheryl Rose and Linny Goldbourne,
there would never be a moment like the one I shared with Caroline Lanafeuille
that night in August when I was nineteen and the world seemed like heaven.
        
        
        Later
she left.
        She
left me there half-asleep.
        She
dressed. She leaned over me. She kissed my forehead, rested her hand on my
cheek, and then she left.
        I
heard the screen door downstairs, and though I wanted to lean up towards the
window and watch her cross the yard and start away towards the Lake, I did not.
        Could
not.
        I
never wished to remember her leaving.
        I
wanted my last abiding memory of Caroline Lanafeuille to be that moment I knew
I truly loved her.
        Nothing
else.
        I
would not see her for many, many years, when we both had changed irrevocably.
        I
would never really learn what her father had done that had taken her away, and
I said nothing to Nathan when he returned from the fall testimonials in
Charleston.
        I
believed that some things, just a handful, were for yourself and God alone.
    ----
        

Chapter Six
        
        In
November of 1965 the Army came to Greenleaf.
        Why
they chose Greenleaf I don't know, but they came, and with them a tent the size
of half a football field.
        They
sent out buses to bring people from the surrounding towns, and those people
came in their hundreds. They saw it perhaps as a family outing, and when they
arrived they found the Army had laid on fried chicken and corn and potato
salad.
        People
crowded into that tent, and like an evangelical gathering they sat and waited
for the Army man to arrive.
        Despite
the season it was warm, and soon that tent was like an oven, people fanning
themselves with the brochures they found on their seats. Children gathered in
small crowds along the edge of the tent, chattering and laughing and
squabbling.
        But
when the Army man arrived they were hushed and well-behaved.
        I sat
beside my ma, and to my left was Mrs. Chantry. In the row ahead Reverend and
Mrs. Verney sat, with Nathan between then.
         The
Army man was Sergeant Michael O'Donnelly of the Airborne
something-or-other. He told us to call him Sergeant Mike. They'd rigged up a loudspeaker
and his voice was clear and measured and precise. He'd done this before, many
times I was sure, for it was from places like Greenleaf and Myrtle Beach and
Orangeburg that LBJ's 35,000 men a month would come.
        They
would give fried chicken and corn and potato salad to America's parents, and in
return they would take their sons. Perhaps, to folk in Washington, it seemed a
fair exchange.
        Sergeant
Mike was a spirited speaker, a man of verve and passion. He believed in
America. He believed in the Constitution. He believed in freedom of speech and
the right to bear arms, and he was doing just fine until Karl Winterson who ran
the Radio Store asked him how many of our boys had died out there already.
        For a
heartbeat there was silence, a palpable tension within the acreage of that
tent. Inside that heartbeat it seemed we were all gathered beneath a single
blanket.
        And
then there was a child's voice from the side. A single child's voice that cut
through that moment and separated it like a razor. The moment split in half and
rolled each way like an orange on

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