The moon observed the two friends as they crossed the cobbled street. In contrast to the white splendor of the moon, the two were clothed in dull, tattered garbs. They held on to each other for support as they hobbled along. The gaslights were the only source of illumination for the two, in these wee hours. The duo stopped in front of the cemetery.
“We are here, Harry.”
“Yes, we are, Don.”
Harry pushed open the gate. Don could see it was taking Harry a massive effort. He put his body weight against the door. With much effort, the two managed to get the rusted iron gate open. They stood at their spots for a couple of minutes, panting and wheezing. It was to be expected. They were not young anymore. Harry bent clutching his stomach and looked up at Don.
“That took a lot of gas. Shall we make a move?”
“We should. I feel so old.”
“Don, you are old.”
Don caught Harry’s eye and they burst out laughing. They stopped abruptly as soon as they heard their laughter echoing. They continued walking deeper into the graveyard, the ever-watchful moon illuminating the rough terrain in front of them. The two friends continued walking slowly. They peered at the names on the gravestones that lay on either side.
“You know Harry, I don’t remember the graveyard being so big. At least it does not look so big from the outside.”
“Your memory serves you well, old fellow. The war is the cause of the expansion.”
“Oh yes, we live in times of war. Brutal times, claiming the lives of so many.”
“They always have Don, they always have. Wars deplete lives and resources. Wow! All this walking is really killing me.”
“I think it is the lack of walking that is killing us.”
Don placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“Have we reached, yet?”
Harry looked around.
“Nah! These are old graves. The new ones are much further. Quit complaining and keep walking.”
Don grumbled. He hated walking. Harry on the other hand, quite enjoyed it. In all their many years of friendship, Harry had never once heard Don go on long walks without grumbling. So, he was quite used to it.
“Let’s go back Harry. I don’t feel like walking any more.”
“Stop being so cranky. You know this is important for me, important for us. We need to do it. Besides, both of us know very well, that after we reach you are going to think the long walk was completely worth it.”
Don ran his fingers through his white hair. He knew Harry was right. However, he enjoyed complaining to Harry. He found it entertaining. The two continued their ritualistic walk silently, pausing every few minutes to catch their breath. After a good ten more minutes, Harry stopped and looked around with a smile on his face.
“This is it, we are here.”
Don flopped on the ground.
“Finally! The torturous walk is finally over.”
“Enough of the complaining, Don. It is now time to enjoy.”
Harry walked to the nearest gravestone, the one to his left. Don got up to his feet and followed Harry. Harry bent down, looking at the gravestone and read aloud:
“Pvt. Timothy Douglas lies here. How does this Timothy Douglas sound like?”
Don rubbed his hands in anticipation.
“Sounds like a real fine treat.”
Harry bent down and began unearthing the grave.
“Well, thank heavens for wars. As long as men deplete each other, our kind will never have to go hungry.”
Don smacked his lips in response.