Sister Godfree’s Face

From Dallas Doctor’s “World Without Love ~ A Collection of Short Stories that Together Tell a Story” (page 104):


Sister Godfree’s Face

(June 1969)


When Brian Summers came home from the war, his entire family gave Sunday-night-speeches at church. 

Standing erect at the front of the chapel wearing his pressed dress uniform with his medals and his ribbons, Brian looked very much like a storybook hero soldier.  But during his talk, he confessed that on the night of his heroism, he’d fired his weapon blindly into a black jungle of chaos and confusion.  He said he hadn’t even seen any of the enemy he’d been credited with killing. 

We were all hoping for a better story.

So it wasn’t Brian’s speech, but the next one — his mom’s — that changed everything for me.  Not that she said anything unusual.  She didn’t.  At all.  She talked about how she’d prayed for Brian every night and how God had answered her prayers and watched over Brian and how God had brought Brian safely home to the family that loved him.

From where I was sitting, as Sister Summers basked in her gratitude at the pulpit, I could see Sister Godfree seated quietly in the congregation. 

Sister Godfree’s son Les – one year ahead of Brian in school – had also returned from the war. 


But not the third time.

I carefully watched Sister Godfree’s face as Sister Summers went on and on about thanking God, but Sister Godfree didn’t betray any emotion at all. 

I wondered what Sister Godfree was thinking.  And feeling. 

And I wondered why God hadn’t watched over Les Godfree too.




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