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Liberation

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She finds the sketchbook as she's clearing out George's things. It's secreted in a drawer of his workshop cabinet. The false bottom shifts as she's wiping away some dust.

So many thin and worried young faces. So many uniforms, English ones that she used to see everywhere, others she's never seen before. There are even a few Germans.

And there is one man, over and over. Fair, handsome, with a soft mouth and deep-set thoughtful eyes. Sometimes he wears a Navy uniform, sometimes a shirt unbuttoned over a throat that even in fading pencil lines seems to invite kissing. In one sketch, hidden between two pages almost unnoticeably glued together at the edges, he wears nothing.

It is not a shock. Not quite.

George never talked about the war. He wanted to put it behind him, she thought, and get on with living. With being free.

She thinks of George's car, going somehow out of control on a clear dry day, and how fast he must have hit the tree to do so much damage.

She looks at the beautiful naked body of a man whose name she doesn't know, and she wonders if George was ever free at all.