Sunday, August 10, 2014

Four Years and Counting

Four Years and Counting

*Story contains M/M relations and some violent references*

Four years ... In four years a child can spring from an infant. He can learn to walk and talk and fasten his own clothing. Tie his shoes and brush his hair. A wise one will recite his alphabet and ask questions about the stars. In the span of four years an individual can be born from a mere seed.

In the same time a tree can grow from a simple stick. Man can imagine, create and perfect motor vehicles and technology. Greatness can be achieved from hard work and discipline. There is just so much a human can do in four years time.

So painfully much.

For four years you and I have watched the bombs fall. Over three hundred times, from every possible direction; in the daylight, and more frightening still, in the darkness. Harris did not lie when he spoke, "they are going to reap the whirlwind."

But even I cannot feel bad for me as I sit here in the rubble and hold your hand. Most days I can't even find it in my heart to feel bad for you. When one follows a snake into a sewer one doesn't deserve the right to complain about dirty shoes.

I remember listening to the radio, the angry voice threatening our holds, "... it will cost us between four hundred and five hundred aircraft," he said. "It will cost Germany the war." And though that promise has yet to bear fruit, I hope so. I honestly, truly hope so. It's time for it all to stop now. More so than the fact that our limbs are tired and our bellies starving, for our hearts are dried and withered in our chests and hope has expired with the knowledge that this was all so very wrong.

I reach for your hand but you don't look over to smile at me anymore. Expression is for the foreign soldiers that celebrate our losses. It is for the German children out there masquerading as warriors—teenage boys behind machine guns, girls with flaks— children, babies to the eyes of the rest of us. Impetuous, misled, passionate fools who think that conquering and controlling are where the power lies.

But here, I think, as I tighten our fingers together and rest my head back against the demolition that was once the wall of a home – this is where real power is. Surviving when the desire to do so is all but gone. Keeping love when Amour has flown so far away one wonders if it will ever dare to show its wings again. Getting up; eating, standing, walking, trying, when the only images your mind will replay for you are the ones reminding you of the hundreds of comrades and civilians that you lined up shoulder-to-shoulder and foot-to-foot so that a proper body count could be established.

These planes ... always the planes ... and some days it's hard not to hope the next one bears your name as target. Death, however, would be a relief and I don't know if we deserve it.

Do you remember when you used to sing, love? You were so young, so very strong and vibrant, and you carried your weapon like it was an extension of yourself. I was proud to be your friend and you seemed just as prideful of my attentions. I miss those drunken nights and the look in your eyes when we touched. Remember that first time you reached for me and I didn't stop you? Remember how you made it seem like it was a mistake in case I caused trouble?

Oh, if they only knew. If they knew, love, if they had a moment's thought, you and I would not be fighting this war at all, would we? No, instead we would be just another member of the hoard wearing the stripes and the numbers. And which is worse for the soul, I wonder? The incessant suffering the likes of which I cannot fathom? Or our hypocritical denial of who we are and what we need?

I am a monster. You are a monster. We're all just monsters now.

"It's dawn," I whisper, hoping to turn your head and it works. For a moment I see your eyes again, caught by the natural glory of light that seems so far out of place in this annihilated city. It is the only light in your eyes though. Beyond you the silhouette of the Kaiser Wilhelm reaches up with its broken finger and I wonder if its walls still carry the weight of its artwork or if, those too, have fallen to dust.

So much beauty destroyed. For what promise I can't even bring myself to recall.

"Maybe today," you say. And I don't need to ask what you mean.


The End

Copyright © 2013 AF Henley

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