Angie jumped up and down in the drizzling rain, waving her arms, “Billy, over here,” she yelled, “I’m over here.”
She thought she might have seen movement in his eyes but it had been brief, perhaps nothing to do with her.
He held formation and kept marching up the street in her direction.
No sign of recognition; no acknowledgement.
He looked just like all the other men; same uniform, same haircut, marching in step with one another.
The only difference was that Billy carried a bugle, not a rifle like the rest.
Perhaps she had imagined the flicker of his eyes, perhaps they had broken him, made him just another anonymous part of the machine.
Angie clapped her hand over her mouth and prayed silently that it wasn’t so.
She searched his face for a sign, for some indication that her Billy was still in there somewhere.
He kept marching, his face impassive and emotionless.
A tear formed in Angie’s eye and she daubed it away with the finger of her glove as she began to lose hope.
Billy drew abreast of where she stood on the curb his eyes locked on her and the corners of his mouth drew up, ever so slightly, he winked.
More tears formed and she smiled, hopping up and down with joy.
He was still Billy.
Not just a cutout.
He was more than a soldier,
more than just a cog.
Suddenly the rain didn’t matter.
It was a beautiful day.