I wrote this totally free writing without really thinking about where it would go. I'm not completely thrilled with this story, but like my last CWCG I tried an area a little more foreign to me.
Share your thoughts both extreme grammar issues and/or storyline. Pats on the back are extremely welcomed and appreciated!
Libra - seventh sign of the zodiac
Slumlord - an absentee landlord who exploits slum property
Scarce - not common, rarely seen
Roar - to make a loud, deep, rumbling sound; to laugh boisterously
Formal - according to fixed customs; stiff in manner. Designed to be worn at ceremonies.
Also coming shortly will be the next Creative Writing Challenge so be sure to check back and play/write along with us!
EXPERIENCE OF A SOLDIER
I wake, the sound of chopper blades a roar in my head. My mind is confused as I try to recall where I am and what is happening. Pain is burning through me, my chest cavity in flames, the pressure is so intense I can hardly breathe.
Someone is speaking to me, I see his face in a blur. The sound of the blades are still piercing my ears, my head, my body. I've been shot. I remember now, the impact of the hit. I'm alive. I think of my wife, expecting our second child. She is waiting for me to return for my leave in time for the birth. We scheduled a C-Section so I can be present. I missed the birth of our first. I need to be strong. I need to survive for them. The pain is so intense. I will myself to live.
The person is speaking to me again, his face is clearer. It is my sergeant. We are in route to the medical facility. "Hang on," he yells over the whipping of the chopper blades. I say in my mind, I will hang on. And, then it is black.
One month, two weeks and three days later I am well enough to be discharged from the medical facility. Due to my injuries I am eligible for an early discharge. I am able to return home. I can still feel the hole in my chest and abdomen, though pink, soft, scars are all the evidence left of that almost fatal day. My sergeant tells me to return to my wife and kids, to forget the military and live a normal life. "You've served your country well," he adds.
Forget? Who can forget? Would such memories so easily become scarce? I think not. I know that I will not forget. It would be wrong to forget. It would be impossible.
I see my wife. She is crying and waiving as I exit the plane and make my way across the tarmac. Our eyes are locked, and I think how I almost lost this. I kiss her on the cheek, on her lips, across her forehead. I reach for my daughter and take her from my wife's embrace and I hug her to me tightly. I say a prayer in my head thanking the Lord that I am here now. I hug my wife again, feeling my son who resides in her full belly against me and I kiss her intently, the four of us clutched tightly together.
It's been almost eight months since I last saw her. I long to kiss my wife in other places, across her heart tattoo placed where only my lips and my tongue may roam. Maybe I can forget just a little of the death and fire and war I've just returned from. Kissing her in those places will replace those memories, even if for a few moments. I want to kiss her tummy where our son is growing. I love my wife and my family. I am home. It is good to be alive. Others from my troop didn't fare as well.
My wife makes idle conversation on the drive home. I peer out the window, watching the streets, sidewalks, buildings go by. We pass so many buildings that are condemnable and yet the slumlords rent them to the poor and less fortunate. I think how these buildings would be the dwellings of a wealthier man in the place from where I have recently come, having a real floor rather than sleeping on dirt. Cockroaches, yes, but running water and a sewage system. I am thankful to be an American. I turn my thoughts back to my wife and daughter to hear their chatter. After all, I am home. I should be thinking of home and not that other place.
I've now been home three weeks. Each night I fall asleep rubbing my wife's fully grown belly, feeling childlike as my wife simultaneously strokes my hair with her hands. It is comforting. It is an adjustment, returning back home after all I have seen and experienced. My wife doesn't press me but I know she wishes I would talk with her and share what I am feeling. I do not want to share. I do want to share. I feel like two people. The soldier, and the husband and father. I cant seem to merge the two. I feel torn. I am a Libra. Libras are known to be fair and balanced. I do not feel balanced. I share this with my wife.
My wife is quietly thinking about what I have said. She keeps stroking my hair, my ears, across my eyebrows, my cheeks. It feels nice. I find myself lulling into sleep. She whispers as I fall into slumber, "Tonight you sleep, tomorrow we'll find balance."
Today is my first appointment with a therapist. My wife has scheduled me with a therapist who specializes in working with soldiers returning from war. It feels so formal. I wear my dress uniform. My wife says I don't have to. The therapist will require that I talk about my tour, my duties, my dreams that haunt me. Thus, he will be speaking with the soldier and I will dress appropriately.
Today is my sixth session. There are no orders given, no rules to follow. He let's me talk about anything and everything. I express to him how I feel split, like two different people. I want to be one person again. He understands. He does not judge. He does not put words in my mouth. He does not tell me how I should behave. He tells me to feel, not to lock it away. I find he is an outlet that helps me combine my two parts together again.
He schedules our next session. As we approach the door he grabs my hand to shake it. "Thank you," he says. Why is he thanking me. I should be thanking him.
He sees the confused expression on my face and explains. "I say thank you because of what you experienced in an effort to protect our country, your family and mine. I am thanking you for your sacrifice. I've dedicated my career to soldiers. And part of fulfilling that is by showing appreciation." He pats my back. I am realizing that what I experienced, while unfathomable as it is and horrible as it was, that in someway, it is a good thing. I served a true purpose. I am not a horrible person.
I am a good soldier. I am a good father. I feel that the two can become one again. It will take time, but finally feel I can find my balance. My phone rings as we are saying goodbye. My son is ready to meet us. He and I shake hands once more and he pats me on the back again as he rushes me out the door.
My wife smiles at me as I enter the room. "You promised you'd be here and here you are." She struggles through a contraction. I hold her hand and she squeezes mine hard. I witness the beauty of the birth of my son. This very moment confirms everything. The death, the war, being shot, almost dying -- it was all worth it. To live my life, with my family and my freedom.