“Who’s to say in advance whether it’s the right thing or the wrong thing?” says Fred. “It just means a fresh start in some other place.”
“How do you know it’ll be different anyplace else?” asks Pat. “There’s a need here for fellas like yourself that fought and won the war.”
Fred laughs, dismissively.
“I know you haven’t had the best of breaks since you got back,” says Pat. “but — you ought to stick here and slug it out a while longer on your own home ground.”
“You’re all right, Pop,” says Fred. “But I know when it’s time to bail out.”
Fred picks up his bag. “I gotta get going,” says Fred.
“Here are your clean socks, Fred,” says Hortense, holding out laundry.
“Just put ’em in here,” says Fred. “Take good care of the old man.”
“I’ll do my best,” says Hortense. “But we’ll miss you, Freddy.”
“You ought to be used to that by now,” says Fred. He turns to his father. “So long, Pop.”
Pat says nothing, but holds Fred’s hand.