He had an aversion to his father’s eyes, the icy steel therein that didn’t belong to his gentile warmth. His dad was ten feet tall and he’d observed how others saw him that way, too. But he wasn’t the feared giant he appeared from afar in his formal rigidity and the straight, cutting lines of his stance and suit. He was shadow and angles from across a room. The light, wherever it was in a place, would fall sharply in slants from his bones, in triangles from his cheeks and over his eyes, broken by furrows down his high, square brow. His hands clenched, appeared as unsheathed tools when extended – especially when pointed. His gold wedding band seemed a softer metal than the digit it wrapped. There were other men about with skin like his. Their flesh was a coat, not the same organ that bled and hurt as Rupie’s was prone to do. Theirs was a rationed material, a layer sanctioned to be worn beneath the wool of their uniform jackets. These men, like his father, they were lean enough to be branded skeletons, their skin sagging like clothing a size too big from the bones that held it up. His father’s face, like theirs, was always grey, or sallow when surrounded by grass, trees and the elements. His fists, extending from the shadows cast by the starched cuffs of his shirt, were purple, the knuckles white, his palms red. The blood didn’t reach his skin anymore, and couldn’t make it to the parts where the bones almost tore through. You had to be close to make out his father’s secret warmth, to feel the heat of that weak fire. They say that stars burn with an intense fire that blinds from a place that’s long since gone from the universe as it stands in the moment’s presence; his father’s, like others’, was in his eyes. Therein was the dab of starlight, like the fire of a last refuge taken deep within a cave. It was so blinding Rupie avoided it with his eyes, but felt its warmth over him like the ray of a hidden sun that secretly taps you on the shoulder when the forecast says the day will be cold and rain. It was this spot, the tiny star of light shining as a remnant from another time that did not exist anymore, from the place in him that the war had not and could not harden.