A thought shot me again, like a bullet in the abdomen. I fall. Tribulation engrossing over, under, and beside me. I do not cry. Swallowed up in pain. Bathing in it like in the blood of my enemies after a massacre, a blow on the head and I'm awake.
Your hand on my shoulder.
It is still burning.
* * *
Home alone again, too much time for my constantly perplexing introspection.
My sleep is war with my thoughts. My sleep is war with my body. My sleep is war with me.
Thoughts race to me like a rapid-fire, make my body feel like after a poison gas attack.
Inside my soul, I feel a pain that seems to come. This malignant pain that you carry inside follows you wherever you go, talks about you in your silences, and rips your soul. Would you just run away? Transgression will displace, confuse you, put your thoughts in turmoil. It never does pass. We think we’re strong, until you go through something that changes your life forever.
I turned on the news. A bomb went off in another country. I shuddered violently reminiscing the event of my best friend losing both legs, as a self-made explosive device hit our convoy. He was married before the beginning of our mission, and did not even have time for a honeymoon. We wondered how many more must die. How many have to lose their limbs before we get out of here. Is any of this worth it.
No, probably not.
Fast-forward to the end.
Suddenly - it’s quiet.
You heard nothing at all.
Overwhelming silence laid above the whole area and above the people, who had fought against each other here. Some had already lost their lives, other just stand barely on their own legs, and others again were patched up or wrestling for their lives to go on.
No one dared to breathe or to make a sound, until the knowledge overcame them that this war was finally over. We had managed it, won. Against the enemy, who seemed tenacious and unconquerable.
The wind blew over the landscape, raised the dust from the ground and carried it away. The first people started to stir, the joy of victory was clearly seen on their faces, even though deep down in their hearts they felt sorrow for the dead soldiers. In the moment: the feeling of joy overpowered it.
How do I feel?
Like a problem is just around the corner.
The man glowered at me, and thrusted me aside, causing me to stumble into the wall, nonplussed. Where am I and how on earth did I get here?
My eyes focused and I saw the shops; Snacks maybe?
Forgot the umbrella.
Drenched by rain, I feel slow saturation on my shirt, fingers benumbed. Hailstones caromed off my head, shoulders and face. Did I feel any affliction? No. Was I bothered by the weather? Nope. It had a deeper meaning to me, sometimes the days just pass, No trace. No mark. They pass. There are minds in which you look back you do not understand what has happened...But you know that when it happened, you’re not ever going to be the same. I count between the days of each paroxysm, hoping it won’t occur when people are around. This isn’t how it used to be. I’ve definitely changed.
I curled into my favourite chair, like a hedgehog defending itself. I snuggled the top of my eye sockets into my kneecaps, it applied pressure to my eyes, which was what made everything so dark. My nose was between my legs, hands around my ankles, slowly rocking side to side.
For the first time in a long while...
I'm nowhere near as strong as I thought I was. Impuissant. Piteous. Fear forever caressing my veins.
“Get a grip” I thought, but no-one was home yet to say so.
I remembered something.
Looking into the dark hollow eyes of the sergeant as he said “Kill any soldier that you see on the battlefield. It’s either them or you.” His words ring in my ears anytime I hear an instruction.
I was not brought up in such fear, and it will take some time before I got used to it.
At least I thought that back then.
I feel like a rowboat without oars, a shark without teeth.
I never expected me to be a pathetic, whimpering, grown-man, acting like a small girl who’s dolly got taken off of her. I will get over this, I promise my wife and children.
[ 1 ]Wenn Ihnen jemand sagt,
"Krieg ist die Hölle."
Es sind keine Unschuldigen in der Hölle.
If someone tells you
"War is hell."
There are no innocents in hell.