It returned to my world on the day before Father's Day. A fighting frogman, a black plastic warrior long buried in the mossy gravel of the driveway, hidden away for almost two decades.
My middle son, Johnny, whom I haven't spoken with nor heard from since 2004, used to play with plastic army men in the yard when he was little. His mother used to say he was the most like me of my 3 sons; I used to play interminably with green (and tan) little plastic army men when I was little.
I ran into his mother, my ex, on a public sidewalk a couple of years ago and asked her if Johnny was alive, well, married, had children, and where he lived, because I don't know the answer to any of those 5 questions. She stonily refused to answer even a single word, and I walked away having confirmed, in my mind, that she was the destructive covert narcissist I had come to discover her to be, in my opinion.
It's ironic that this soldier returned to the fold on the eve of Father's Day, to be placed on the shelf in Johnny's bedroom with 4 or 5 other toy soldiers who have come home in a similar fashion over the years. Perhaps someday the prodigal son, his will having been overborne by his mother and her coterie of accomplices during the lengthy divorce when he was a vulnerable minor, in my opinion, will return to the fold also.