“I joined the war believing in something,” Cole said. “But, at this moment, I could not tell you what it was.”
“You won,” she said.
“My father died at Bull Run, my brother and I enlisted with the Union, my younger brother went to the Rebels, and I have heard no word from him since the morning he left. My mother and sister, when the fighting grew too close, went south to Charleston to stay with her people there. I never saw them again. My family’s home was burned down, the fields are burial grounds. If that is winning, I can’t imagine what losing feels like.”
She touched his hand, just above the thumb where there was a dip, a small pocket of skin that was warm and damp, and then she pulled her hand away. Cold comfort perhaps, but all she had. “Remarkably,” she said, “it feels the same.”