I don’t get to read that many stories by Wilber (he may write more, but I don’t get to see them), and those that he writes are often less SFnal than I would like, but he knows how to write a compelling story (flashbacks can help) and he can create believable characters.
Here he looks at a 40 year marriage, through a visit in the 1980s, by a husband to his Alzheimers-suffering wife in a nursing home, and their initial dramatic meeting in Ireland in the early 1940s. He was a tailgunner flying a Lend-Lease bomber from the US to England via Northern Ireland, but when things go wrong a crashlanding in a bay in Ireland sees the two come together. In seeing the plane bearing down towards her grandmother, the young woman begs for help, and her prayer is heard, but there is a price to eventually be paid.
In the 1980s, the visit to the nursing home turns into a long drive, with the husband initially humouring his wife as she thinks it’s the honeymoon trip they had planned once the war finished. But as the miles pass, he finds there is a blurring between the present and the past, as he reflects on the husband he has been over the decades.
A great bit of writing.
More from this issue here.