Gideon looked out over the water of the duck pond and all the ducks swimming in circles, occasionally looking at him in hopes of more food. The wind tugged at his hair and it tickled at his neck. It was longer than he was used to it being, having not bothered getting a haircut since he’d left home and not buzzing it short since he’d left the military. Gideon shifted the lollipop he was sucking on from one side of his mouth to the other and looked down on the bench at the duck sitting next to him. The duck tilted his head.
“What?” he asked it.
The duck didn’t say anything.
Gideon sighed and fed it another piece of popcorn. “I’m not a coward.”
A girl in a tight t-shirt and tighter pair of shorts in bright garish colors jogged by, her long blonde ponytail swung back and forth. She saw him and smiled, doing a double take at the duck.
The duck chomped down on the popcorn.
Gideon adjusted his sunglasses and turned on the writing program. He needed to write a letter to his mother. He’d already written one to his father. Short and functional in the mode of ‘Hey Dad, I’m well. Love, your son.’ The angry words he and his father had shouted at each other before he’d left home still echoed in the back of his head and clogged his ears.
In front of him, projected from the corners of his sunglasses, a light blue rectangle appeared. He searched his pockets for his stylus.
The duck made an inquiring sound at him.
Gideon paused and narrowed his eyes at it. “No. I don’t have more food. I’m giving you popcorn,” he said, and found the stylus in his back pocket. He could have called up a keyboard and typed a letter a letter to his mother. She preferred a more personal touch and had told him so roundly the one and only time he’d typed a letter to her while in the service. He’d never done it again.
‘Dear Mom,’ …