Dick didn't go to many reunions. They were awkward, the men nervous and loud around him. He'd sit in a corner, full glass warming slowly in his hand, as they stopped in front of him. They all asked the same questions about his family and the farm. Eventually, everyone drifted off, back to the bar or their own tables, out to the parking lot at the end of the night.
Lew called it holding court. Dick thought it was ridiculous and sometimes left early.
He'd stay away for a few years, politely declining Guarnere's letters and the phone calls from others—Lipton, sometimes, or Compton—but eventually Lew would show up and bully him into buying a plane ticket, or simply mail two itineraries with no note, secure in the knowledge that Ethel would take care of the rest. Dick hated being handled, hated having the decision made for him, but he'd still drive to the airport and sit silently on the plane, his eyes closed tight and fingers wrapped around the armrests.
Hours later, they'd bounce onto the tarmac and Lew would be waiting inside the terminal with a grin on his face that didn't reach his eyes. He'd take Ethel's bag and lead them through baggage claim, where Grace would be waiting with a taxi and plans for a weekend of shopping and spas.
They squeezed into the car and Grace and Ethel would wave at the front of the hotel, ride off and leave Lew and Dick standing there, watching.
Dick was weak, he always had been, but he hoped that Ethel understood. He hoped that she could see how hard he tried, and how little he was able to change anything. He counted out the days, and he'd given more to his family than to Lew. It would have to be enough.
Later that night, Lew would sit next to him in the corner of the room. After a while Lew's hand would reach out, grab onto Dick's wrist and hold it beneath the tablecloth. For the rest of the night he'd sit quietly, running his thumb over Dick's pulse as they chatted and smiled and remembered things from the other side of the world.