I am afraid. Upon the frozen earth I sit, a statue unmoving. Like a fox I have burrowed, waiting for the storm of bullets to pass. I mutter a silent prayer that the war will not last. I sense upon the air, but do not see, the agony of all nations. I long for home, long for warmth, but I will not flee or abandon my post. I will remain, for you.
Time slows, the screams of the dying and injured float through the night, the surrounding darkness, the uncertainty, a portal to my soul. I am in hell. My heart beats rapidly, so hard I feel it pulse across my tongue, hear within my head its panicked thrum. I wipe ash from my face as I wait for the call, I shudder within winters icy thrall. I turn to face my brothers. There is a shadow in every eye, a pain so deep we have long forgotten how to cry. We bear it, for you.
The command is given, my horror grows. On weary legs I stand, every muscle inflamed and bruised. With my brothers, I dare leave our sanctuary; the cold winds blow and howl. Death is coming. The rancid scent of gun powder climbs my nose, clogs my mouth and lungs. It is so thick I feel as though I am lost, that I wander blind and alone. I will continue forward, not for me, but for you.
I close my eyes and muster courage, I breathe, one breath, then two. Long and calming my heart beats steady, my hands no longer shake. I do not hesitate, I am ready, but only for you.
With my brothers I take arms, debris and shrapnel flying towards me. I do not shirk but push past the fog; my numb feet trudge the snow. I cannot feel my finger on the trigger, but I imagine you walking beside me, a shadow of home that brings me hope. I find strength, for you.
I realise as the sound of war grows even closer, it is not just I who longs for home, but every heart, every son, brother and father, who chose to heed the plight. I bolt down my fear, I lock out the pain, my duty is my honour. United and strong, my brothers and I, we stand as one. We promised to fight, we will fight, for you.
We pick up speed, our steps assured, I watch one by one, my brothers fall… I want to stop but I go on, there is no going back, I must soldier on. To my knees I tumble, the world beneath me quickly crumbles. Flashes of fire burn, but I can no longer discern the heat, guns fire, I do not recall the moment of my defeat. Still, my breathing stuttered, I will never stand again. I hold on, but to the earth I felt sure I would soon belong. I will give my life, for you,
The minutes become seconds, I’m running out of time. I see through watery eyes, the sun climb, and illuminate the sky. I smile, my pain has finally gone, silence, becomes a soothing song. My heart slows, three beats, then two, my breath grows faint, one beat, know that I loved you. I think of home one final time, my last breath I gift to you. I have nothing left, I can do no more, for you.
The time to go home has finally arrived, my brothers and I, our promise to you delivered. I have no voice, but if I did, I would ask, only this; Remember me, for amid the darkness, the pain and despair, I remembered you.
copyright of salenalee.com 2018