by Roger Fritz, 4-2-00
I went to Aldabaran on a student-exchange program, and during one spring vacation I took a floater to Bimly, a village on the southeast coast of the main continent. I was sentimentally retracing my father's route when he'd fought there during the war with Vega.
I had a few pictures of the village, and I walked around seeing if I could find where he'd taken them. I found one, a view of a grey house by an orchard. In front of the house my father, a young man in his uniform, had an arm around each of two pretty young women.
I knocked on the door, and an old woman answered.
I showed her the picture, and her hand fluttered to the mouth.
"I'm that woman," she said, pointing to one of the laughing women in the photograph. "And my sister who lives here with me is the other. I remember the day your father came by with another soldier. They asked us for water. We weren't allowed to give anything to soldiers, so we couldn't. But my sister felt bad for a long time that we didn't give them something to drink."
I could see her sister, shy in the hall behind her. "You may tell her they are both fine now, although older than they were then."
As I was leaving, the woman hurried down the walkway after me, carrying a glass of water. "My sister wants me to ask if you'd like a drink."