Just over Aoga Shima, a small volcanic island about 175 miles, or 45 minutes, out of Koriyama, Simeral’s right arm rises.

Without looking or thinking, I release the green flare down the chute.

“Away,” I report.

Immediately, I bend down to pick up the phosphorous canister waiting next to my left foot.

Simeral will signal for the release of this one at any moment.

My eyes lock with his right arm again. I stand ready to do my job.

It’s the eternity in between action I love, not the action itself. Anticipation for action; this is where the life of a moment resides.

Simeral’s arm rises once more. “Now, Sergeant,” he calls out.

Again, without thinking, I pull the pin on the phosphorous smoke bomb canister, starting its six-second fuse, before releasing it down the narrow chute.

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Honor Thy Love

Even the surely painful, vice-like grip of my right hand attempting to hold on to Camille’s delicate, yet unusually sweaty, left is not enough to keep her within my grasp. The celebratory crowd lurches us in diverging directions through unrelenting waves down the cobblestone central avenue of Marseilles. 


“Hold on to me!” Camille screams out. 


“I’ll never let you go!” I call back, unable to catch her hand before it slips beyond my reach.

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