And, perhaps more bizarre, was the feeling that the scent seemed fitting.
And that was what was left to remember all the men that lived and died in a great war fought between brother’s long before Allister was born.
Names. Lists. Allister found it odd to think of himself in terms of his name. Allister Cromley. It was weird to think of himself as words and that someday those words would come to represent him on a list. Maybe many lists, but just two words for Allister Cromley.
Those words did not even cover the obvious (height, weight, hair color, eye color, shoe size, wing span, style of stride, sound of laughter, sound of sobbing, grip of handshake, grip of hug)- much less the obscure (loves, fears, dreams).
And, of course, Allister did not go through life thinking of that. It would drive a person crazy to think of themselves as a name on a list. It would be listing yourself from the very start.
The young men and old men listed on the mausoleum’s marble had not thought of that. But, whether they enlisted with patriotic excitement or found themselves pushed into fighting, they automatically entered themselves into a list- Men serving in a war (that particular war in that particular year between those particular brothers long before Allister was born). The list would eventually turn into Veterans of that particular war in that particular year between those particular brothers long before Allister was born and would be divided into sub-categories of casualties and survivors of this particular side and casualties and survivors of that particular side of that particular war in that particular year between those particular brothers long before Allister was born. Further categories would list those who fought in particular battles, the number of particular years soldiers served, and the particular ranks of each soldier.
And what of that?
Those lists come later, Allister thought.
For that moment, all Allister could do was do. Was be. Was be there. He could not think of mausoleums, of marble, of tributes. For that moment, he was among those who made the lists. And the lists were the most tangible way to remember and honor those that passed on before us. That was and is true.
But, as always, the best way to honor the fallen was to fully live.