Legacy

The father placed the tray over his son’s lap.

“Dad, how come you never ask me about the war?”

The father sat down blatantly in his chair. He found the remote and pointed it at his son’s missing legs. “All the answers are right there.”

The son picked up the sandwich, held it before his mouth, and then set it back down on the paper plate. “You do know there are heroes over there dying trying to defend us, right dad?”

The father sighed and began surfing through the channels. “I have nothing over there that needs defending.”

The son pushed himself up by his elbows. One of his stumps jerked upwards and unsettled the tray. “Unbelievable. Most fathers would think their son is a hero if—”

“We don’t have to do this, you know.” The father stood up, walked over to his son, and reached down for the tray. “If you’re not hungry I’ll—”

“Leave it!” the son said, grabbing the tray and spilling its contents onto his lap.

The father turned and walked toward the door.

“That’s it. Go ahead and run away. Run away on your perfect fucking pair of legs.”

The father stopped. Without turning around he said, “Son, just because someone happens to get killed in battle, or happens to drive over an IED and get his legs blown off, doesn’t automatically make him a hero in my book.”

“Really? Well then, dad, what does it take to make a hero in your book? Sitting around and getting high all day and arguing with the television? Singing protest songs? Carrying dangerously worded signs?”

The father took a step toward the door and then, again, stopped. “Tell me, son. If I think a certain war is immoral to begin with, then what am I supposed to think about the person who volunteers to fight in that war?”

The son didn’t answer.

The father left the room.

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