Let The World Go By

By Richard

This is a story that involves sex between males. If such a story is offensive, or illegal for you to read where you live, then do not continue, go and surf elsewhere.

This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental. Well, not really, but you've got to say it anyway.

The work is copyrighted © by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.

Thank you for being so patient while I recovered. I want to thank all of you who have sent me comments about the story. I know that I have not answered all of the e-mails — please forgive me. Also notice the change in address (due to a virus).

Part Two

The Years In Between

Chapter 1

The campus of The College of St. James in St. Paul Minnesota bustled with the beginning of the new semester of classes in the fall of 1951. It's relatively new limestone buildings seemed to glow in the warm September days. Quickly, however, the season changed early that year.

James hardly noticed that the weather had changed suddenly from the almost balmy Indian Summer that it had been for many weeks to the cold, blustery and rainy weather of the late fall.

His lanky six-foot plus frame seemed bent and frail as he moved almost aimlessly about the campus. His hair need cutting, his clothes were disheveled, and he looked strangely out of place.

He went to and from his classes, barely able to recall from one day to the next what had happened the day before. Everyone left him alone, his temper would flair at the slightest provocation, and he grew more and more morose. Those who knew him, forgave him, those who didn't stayed out of his way.

Jim and Joe, who were from Guam and his two closest friends, tried to cheer him up at first, but when one day he threatened them, they too began to avoid him.


Rain came down in torrents. The sky was as dark as his mood. James pulled on his heavy coat and trudged back toward his room in the barracks trying to keep his books from becoming drenched. On the way he stopped to pick up his mail at the school post office. He received few items of mail, so he didn't stop everyday. He didn't look to see what they were, merely pushed them into one of his books and headed back out into the rain and to his room.

Once there he shook the water from his coat, and hung it over the chair to dry. With a towel he dried his hair and face. He looked like a shaggy wet dog. In the mirror over the sink, he peered at the figure that starred back at him. Surely that gray-face creature couldn't be him! With eyes ringed in dark circles sunken into his skull, and hair matted and ill kept, with several days' growth of beard, he looked for all the world like a ghost from Christmas Past!

He turned away and sat on the bed, and pulled the small bundle of mail from the book where he'd put it. He sorted through it. It was mostly bills and ads. But among them was a letter. It was from Roy.

He opened it and began to read:

"Dear James,

"I know that I should have written to you sooner, but after what happened, I wasn't sure that you would even be interested in me anymore. I should have known that someone as strong and brave as you are would get up and fight again.

"I arrived here in Korea over a month ago. It's been cold and rainy since I got here. You can't believe the mud! It gets into and onto everything, as you can see by this paper I'm trying to write on. What doesn't have mud on is too soggy to put a pencil to.

"When we first got here they put us to guarding this Air Force base south of Seoul. Not much of a base now, but they're building it up fast. The first real fighter planes have been flying in and out for the passed several days now.

"At night 'Midnight Charlie' -- the name given to the night bombers from North Korea that come in while we're asleep, trying to damage our airfield. But our gunners stay awake twenty-four hours a day, in shifts, and knock them out of the sky when they come.

"I don't know when I've been so lonely. (Maybe just after I left the Cities.) We get so little mail from home, it's discouraging. The food is bad and wet and cold! The armies are just five miles apart here, but seem content to stay where they are. An occasional attack in either direction just breaks up the monotony, and does little to move the line any.

"We hear that there's to be a truce soon, whatever that means. It seems that we have that now, at least nothing much is going on. I wish that things would go one way or the other, and we could go home.

"Well, I've run out of paper that I can write on, so I'll close for now. Write when you can. I miss all you guys at home, and tell'm all 'Hello' for me. --Roy"

James starred at the nearly crumpled paper with the penciled writing. Compared with what Roy and thousands of others were going through in Korea, how could he feel so down, when he had so little to feel down about? He got up and looked in the mirror again. Disgusted with himself, he combed his hair. It looked a little better but not enough.

He took off his clothes, grabbed his shaving stuff, soap, and wrapped a towel around his waist and then headed for the showers. At least, he thought, I can look like I'm alive!


An hour later he looked in the mirror again. The dark circled eyes were still there, but the face was shaven, the hair was neat and clean. He looked refreshed, and he even felt some better.

He sat down at the desk and began to write a letter to Roy.

"Dear Roy,"

"I'm sorry that I haven't written to you sooner. I've been sitting around, barely going to classes, feeling sorry for myself. I look like hell, and feel worse! What a mess!

"When I got your letter today, I began to realize how much I've got to be thankful for. At least, I don't have to be wet; I don't have to look like I'm not alive. My food is hot, if not the most tasty.

"In other words, I've been a jerk!

"When Monroe died part of me died with him. But I let that part of me take over. That's not the way it's supposed to be. I have to go on, I know that now. I've got to get back on track, if I can, and I know it may be too late.

"Enough about me. I hope that you are fine and don't get too deep into the mud you can't find your way home again. And leave those girls alone; you know how much trouble you can get into if you try.

"Be well, my friend, and come home safely. We all miss you, Jim and Joe, and all the gang. Write if you can, but most of all take care. -- James."

James read over the letter and folded it neatly and put it into an envelope that he addressed and stamped. The rain had stopped and the clouds had begun to clear. He suddenly felt the need to get some fresh air.

He pulled on a jacket and went out into the night. It was early yet, but it was dark. The dampness hung heavily in the night air, and a chill crept through his jacket to his skin. But he hadn't felt this good since before Monroe died. He dropped the letter into the mail slot and circled back to the barracks. I can sleep tonight, he thought, like I haven't slept in a long time, peacefully, through the night and wake up a new person, one with hope.


Thanksgiving came and went, and the Christmas holidays were nearly upon him. James wrote another letter to Roy, but hadn't gotten any answer yet to either letter.

His schoolwork started to improve and his grades looked as if he might make it through the semester well enough to go on to the next without repeating anything, though it would be close.

A letter came from his mother asking when he'd be home for the Christmas. He wrote back telling her that he would be coming, but just for a week, and would arrive the day before Christmas. For the other week he'd have to come back and study for finals, since he'd missed so many classes. He knew that she'd understand.


The weather was good and he had no problem driving the three hours to his parents home. He'd done his shopping before he left, and had only the wrapping to do when he got home.

Everyone was glad to see him. He even began to feel like his former self again, but he was different, somehow older.

He managed to see several of his friends during his short visit: Dirk, Joel, and Joey. Some didn't come home for Christmas as the distance was too great, and others because they were involved with other people and spent the holidays with them, and still other needed the time to study.


When he went back to school his mother sent a box of goodies with him, cookies and Christmas Fruit Cake, to share with his friends Jim and Joe who had welcomed him back to the land of the living. She cried when he left, and he understood.

When he arrived back at school there was a letter from Roy and another from someone whose name he didn't recognize. He read Roy's first. He'd gotten James' letters and happy that he was recovering from his loss. His letter sounded hopeful and cheerful. He was looking forward to his coming home at the end of summer.

James looked at the second letter, it was more bulky than the first, the return address was the same as Roy's, only the name was different. When he opened it he found that it was actually two letters, one from the person who mailed it, and the other was from Roy, sealed in an envelope and addressed to James.

He began reading the first:

"Dear James,

"You don't know me, and I expect that we'll never meet. But Roy talked about you all the time, so I feel as though I know you. He asked me to mail this envelope to you if anything ever happened to him. Well the time has come that I must do what he asked -- as it may for all of us.

"The other night we had an attack, the usual kind, only more fierce than most. Roy was away from the bunker and didn't make it back before the bombs struck, there were only three. One of them landed nearby where he was crouched. It was quick, and he didn't suffer.

"I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but better me than no one. And that is usually the case for the friends of our fallen. The Marines will write to the families, but not to others. We'll all miss Roy, he was a great guy.

"Sincerely, -- Joseph P. Lawson, USMC."

James blinked away the tears and sat starring at the other envelope. He couldn't bare to open it. It was so unfair!

He lay on his bed looking up at the ceiling, the letter, unopened setting on his desk. He turned out the light and tried to sleep, but it wouldn't come. Finally just before dawn, he got up and opened the letter. He turned on the desk lamp and began to read.

"Dearest James.

"When you read this, I will be far away in miles, but with you in spirit. My time will have ended here on earth. I don't know what it will be like, but I'm sure that I'll have a chance to meet Monroe, and others I have known, who have gone before me.

"I will tell him how much you miss him, as if he doesn't already know, and we can comfort each other in our loss of you. I don't know how long it will be, or how long it will seem to be, before I will see you again.

"Please know, James, that I loved you. More than I ever knew that I could love anyone. You were the only reason I have been able to go on in this terrible place -- this hell on earth!

"I had wanted to survive to come back to you, and to be near to you, but it was not to be. Please don't grieve for me, because for me it is over. I pray that you never have to come to this awful place, that you never have to go through what we have had to endure. Tell Jim and Joe that I still remember them and wish them well.

"Take care of yourself, James, and be well. Your friend forever. -- Roy."

James turned off the light again, lay back on the bed, and wept.

To be continued

If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to Richard at ashvguy4u@yahoo.com

OR if you'd rather you can go to something new — My World Today (a bloog). Everybody knows what a Bloog is, right? It's sort of like an online note-pad. Anyway here's mine:

My World Today

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