The Soldier had a certain way of walking. He clomped in those tan work boots with his arms slightly away from his body, moving with every tread. The Soldier’s arms were long due to his great height, which was significant for his age. He strode like a great warrior, his fingers twitching at the ready as if he were to pounce on prey.
I was very familiar with this walk. I had seen it first from behind a window, a passerby I was. The second was in a crowded place and I observed The Soldier passing by with some friends. That time we were both passersby. This particular occurrence happened several times more at several different times, but one encounter in which I had recently claimed my attentions. I heard his voice.
A friend of mine and I were striding towards a social event. The end of a social event. There are many types of what I would call “social events” (avoiding the use of “party”). There are your wild “social events” hosted by youngsters much more “hip” than I. Your birthday “social events”, of those you know and those you are obligated to. But this one in particular. This was a reputation “social event”, an awkward, stuffy gathering of a hundred tables to impress. We had done our share of circus tricks and entertainment for night but there was still the moving, the scrubbing, the trashing, the carrying, and the like.
My friend and I were coming back from where we placed two particularly heavy bins. I call him The Pirate for he played Captain Hook and I Wendy in our freshman musical. He stood, easily, a foot above me and had the build of a football player. The Pirate was an odd fellow with his antics, but he knew his way around. People. Places. But that is another story.
I saw The Soldier advancing forward, clomping in those tan work boots with his arms slightly away from his body, moving with every tread. I now realize that I was staring as I turned to The Pirate.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“Hm?” he hummed.
“Him.” I gestured with my head, not wanting to point at the tall young man in front of us. The Pirate let out a grunt of acknowledgement before speaking his name.
“Tallest one of us here.” He laughed.
As The Soldier passed, he only spoke a few words to The Pirate. His voice was deep, not surprising for his height, but for his thin frame. He only said three words. And he kept walking, clomping away in those tan work boots.