War never really ends, does it?
We imagine, hope that when the shooting, the bombing, the dying ends that the war has ended with it.
War is not so much a physical activity, but a conceptual task that represents so many different things to so many whether you have participated or not. All of it dependent on why and who has participated.
He remembers why he went; patriotism, to serve his country, a devotion he could not explain but felt in his heart, butterflies churning in his stomach, not of fear but of anxiety that he should be part of something.
Another, drawn in by non-participant warmongers and patriots, was convinced that, though you may hate it, it was his duty, patriotic or otherwise.
Yet another had been running away and hoping the commercials were right, though it may mean going to war, that in the end when he returns home, everything would be right because he would have something proud to stand on.
A Child Screaming In the Halls
Nevertheless, the fighting continued within them, the bombs, the rockets, the gunfire, the flamethrower, screaming everywhere. A child’s screams echo in the hallways and he can’t imagine anything else but a child shell shocked from war. He runs up the stairs to the apartment door from where the child is screaming. Pressing his ear to the door, he listens, unsure of what to do. Why is the child screaming? This goes on for several nights. The child’s mother confronts him outside on the stoop where she berates him for stalking them. Her husband is serving now. She sees our hero as weak; a coward, for not handling himself better. A real man knows why he goes to war. War is as horrible as anyone can imagine but there is no reason for a man not to act like a man.
Paranoid of a Small Dog
All he could think of was shooting, someone, something, anything. He held the .45 in his right hand pointed down at the dog. The dog looked up at him, sniffing then licking the cold barrel, whimpering a query as to what it was that he held. The dog had missed him so much in his absence that whenever possible it followed him about the house, sat beside him waiting to be comforted; and he did. But the he couldn’t help but feel the dog was stalking him. Wherever he looked, the tiny dog was there, its face innocent in its need for comfort, and satisfaction; but wasn’t there always more? All sense of trust and empathy had been left behind on the battlefield. The war hasn’t really ended for him. He imagines that only his own death can end the war for him.
The war won’t ever end for me will it, perhaps when I have died.