The gun was still in the cupboard, gathering metaphorical dust at least, his need for order disallowing real dust to settle. The letters were burnt and the stamps used for mail less absolute and final. He had worn the clean shirt the following day; a meeting in person with his commanding officer replacing the neatly-written note that had explained with unqualified conviction and logic just why the gun, the car, the deserted lane was the only course of action in the circumstances.
Laurie was a wildcard, a chance throw of the dice, a half-cocked gun carelessly stowed. He defied logic and maturity. Instead he sent Ralph reeling back to his days at school, before Jeepers, before Hazell, and long before the Phaedrus was passed on and another life ruined for the sake of distorted Platonic authority.
This was how his existence had played out, though, unexpected and complex, with the sands of his love for Laurie shifting beneath him, setting him off-balance, making him stumble when his desire was to walk straight and easy, each regimented, learned step following the preceding one until he walked into the sureness of infinity.
Yet, despite the superficial blemishes of their two selves, the surface tarnishing caused by separation and war, and most of all despite the lack of overall certainty of what hand life was going to deal them in the future, he was convinced of one thing.
Life was pretty much perfect.