Torn by the Seams
For a day, no one asking about Amy's departure and so Shiloh didn't say anything. And even afterwards, they didn't seem to ask until one evening when Harry showed up at Shiloh's house. Shiloh sat on a stone wall, staring out into space while Harry placed one foot ont he wall and fumbled to lit his pipe.
"What's gotten into you and Amy?" he asked, "You haven't come over in a few days and I haven't even seen Amy around."
"She's gone Harry." The words caught in his throat and Shiloh looked down, staring at the palms of his hands.
Harry stopped fumbling with his pipe for a minute and stared at him. "Gone as in dead?"
"No..." Shiloh shook his head, "She's still avlie but she's still gone at the same time. She went south with David and there's no way to know when she'll be back. The problem is, the south isn't right. They've got no reason to break away from us like they have. The cause of the North, our cause, preserving the nation, that is the right thing."
Finally lighting the pipe and putting it in his mouth, Harry crossed his arms over his leg and leaned on it slightly. His face had taken on a thoughtful expression but he didn't say anything. He had gotten the answer that he had been looking for and had nothing else that he wanted to say.
"Have you ever believe in something?" Shiloh asked, "Believed in something so strongly that all you want is the right outcome, only to find that someone close to you is siding with the wrong side, the other side."
Shrugging, his brother still didn't answer, so Shiloh continued, looking up from his hands. "I've thought about signing up to fight but I'm no soldier. I'm no good with weapons, it would take me the length of the war just to learn how to shoot. But there are other ways to be useful, to serve. I've just got t find that other way. There are doctors."
"You aren't a doctor either," Harry stated, "You aren't much of anything except a dreamer and a writer."
Shiloh stared out into space, stood up and paced a few steps forward, looking at nothing but the sky. "I can learn. There are so many opportunies out there."
He turned to look at Harry again, a ray of light in the dark blue eyes. "Just think about it. Couldn't we all learn something new and then act on it? Can't we all learn?"
"Can no one change your mind?"
A shake of the head was his answer as Shiloh smiled slightly. "Once I've made up my mind, there's no changing it."
Only a few minutes later, Harry left and Shiloh paced a few more steps along the porch, his hands clasped behind him. He felt strangely betrayed still by Amy leaving Maine, and he wasn't sure how he felt about telling Harry about it. Amy hadn't wanted anyone else to know why she had left them but Shiloh couldn't stand the secret. It felt better to just share it.
He remained deep in thought for a few minutes before turning and going tot he barn behind his house, retrieving his black horse, Zorro, and mounting. He rode quietly down the street, thinking.
Before long he reached his destination and dismounted, knocking on the poor of his close friends house. His friend, Frederick, opened it and looked at him with mild surprise. "Shiloh! It's good to see you again! Do come on in."
Stepping aside, Fred made room for Shiloh to walk past him into the house. He shut the door behind him, and then faced his friend. "Now, what can I do for you?"
"I want you to teach me," Shiloh said, "I want to learn how to become a doctor and you're the only doctor that I know."
A grin crossed Fred's face. "You want to be a doctor?"
Shiloh nodded. "Yes, I want to be able to make myself useful to the army, something other then a soldier. Becoming a doctor is a clear way to make myself useful and I have my heart set on it now. Teach me Fred."
"It is strange," Fred said, "That you wish to be a doctor while I wish to be a soldier. But I haven't signed up yet, I will help you before I do so."
He started teaching Shiloh that day, trying to cram in all the important knowledge as quickly as he possibly could. Shiloh learned as fast as his friend taught him that first week and wrote it down so that he would never forget it. As he worked, he almost forgot about the problem of Amy leaving until his mother showed up on his doorstep.
When Shiloh answered the door, he blinked in surprise but his mother pushed past him into the house. "Harry told us."
With those words, he knew exactly what she was talking about. He had been hoping that they would never know about like Amy had but he wouldn't hide anything. "Anything he told you is true I'm sure."
"Why didn't you tell us?" She asked.
For a moment Shiloh said nothing. But then he spoke, "You didn't ask."
He recieved a glare for that last remark but Shiloh just ignored her. "Well now you know," he said, "Anything else you came here for?"
"Yes," She said, "Harry also told me you want to do something with the army. Don't go Shiloh, I can't have two of my children away from home."
"I'm going," Shiloh said quickly, "Not for a little while, but I'm going to be a docter. That's not that dangerous mother, I'll come home without a scratch on me, you'll see."
He smiled slightly and brushed past her out of the house, knowing that she wouldn't like the doctor idea either. Placing both hands on the railing of the porch, he closed his eyes for a moment. He could feel the army calling, the need of a cause he believed in with all his heart and he was going to answer it in his own way.