A Way You'll Never Be (Hemingway)

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A Way You'll Never Be
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man in an American uniform visited his friend, a battalion commander, at the front lines, struggling with his mental state and vivid memories of past experiences in the war.

Nicholas Adams, wearing an American uniform, rode his bicycle through a war-torn landscape, observing the aftermath of a recent battle. He saw dead soldiers lying in the grass, their pockets turned out, and various personal items scattered around them. The town he passed through was deserted and damaged from shelling.

Upon reaching the riverbank, Nicholas encountered a young second lieutenant who initially threatened him with a pistol, suspicious of his identity. After showing his identification, Nicholas was taken to meet Captain Paravicini, who was now commanding a battalion.

Nicholas Adams — narrator; American in an Italian uniform; wounded, struggling with mental state, talkative during episodes.
Captain Paravicini — battalion commander; tall, English-looking, small mustache, speaks English; calm, understanding, concerned for Nicholas.

The two men discussed their experiences in the war and the state of their respective health. Nicholas admitted that he had been wounded and was now experiencing nightmares and difficulty sleeping.

I'm all right. I can't sleep without a light of some sort. That's all I have now.

Captain Paravicini suggested that Nicholas take a nap in the dugout, but Nicholas was restless and soon left to continue his journey. He promised to return with supplies for the soldiers if any were available. As he made his way back to his bicycle, Nicholas struggled to remember certain details of his past experiences and hoped that he would not lose his way.

I'd better get to that damned bicycle. I don't want to lose the way to Fornaci.