My father is on the phone, we have both been watching another documentary about the war, all three parts of it, and once again, he tells me about the sense of liberation he experienced as he walked towards the approaching US army, a 15 year old school boy in uniform, armed at the last minute by some fanatic henchmen to defend his hometown.
He tells me again how the first GI stopped him and asked him how old he was and how in his best school English, he tried to say something grown up. And how the soldier took his gun and told him to run off home and how my grandmother burned the uniform that night and that he became once again just a school boy. Only his school had been closed for years and would stay closed for almost another one. And how later that night the tanks rolled into the garden plowing down the plum trees. How the family was told to get out, now!, and that my grandmother would come back some nights later to secretly harvest the apples and beans from her garden, while the soldiers were up in the house singing and drinking.
We compare his wartime experience with my mother's and all her secrets and tall stories, so he claims, and before I know it he doles out another string of reasons why he had no choice but to leave her and that marrying her was probably the worst thing he ever did and that she conned him and as usual, I say nothing while he rambles through all her faults, the drinking, the suicide attempts, the lot. And when he is finished, he says, well that was a nice little chat we had. You better get on with your day now.