Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Note from a Friend

I know it is your holiday. I hope all finds you well.

Can you tell me what it feels like to close your eyes without fear, to listen to nothing but the sound of the wind in the air, to look up into a sky not exploding with blood?

I can't remember the smells from the garden anymore. I know it used to be filled with sweetness and  joy. Now there is nothing but the stench of death in this neighborhood.

You have a saying, "there but for the grace of God go I."  What God did this to me, to my people?

But a moment ago I was as you, now I am a rat scurrying, hiding, in the shadows, in the corners. I scavenge for food, for light, for shelter from the bombs that suck all the oxygen from my lungs.

I am being a bad friend. I want to learn what your day was like. Did you go to the beach, ride the waves in the ocean? Is the end of summer particularly hot? Do you have any plans for the evening?

My next door neighbor died two days ago. There was a deafening noise no more than 100 meters from where I was sitting at my desk. In that instant the world turned black and in the next, there was chaos. He was two years younger than me, a good man, always with a ready smile.

I am trapped. The only escape is for you to tell me of a universe where there is love, laughter, beauty, quiet, comfort. Tell me of that place. Paint pictures for me so that I will no longer have to look upon the horrors I stare at, unblinking, unable to shut them out of my mind.

What did you consume for this holiday meal? Was it too many hamburgers and hot dogs? I  know your appetite is large for such a small person. Are you complaining, as you always do, about being too full and needing to lose some weight? I trust you were not in charge of the barbecue, for I recall what a poor cook you are.

I know this will end badly for me. I can feel death moving ever closer, tapping me on the shoulder, warning me to be ready, that it will soon be my turn. I am sorry that so many things I wanted to do, so many things I dreamed of, will not be written in my history. There will be no grandchild to hold, no more celebrations to attend, no feeling of contentment that many days well spent can bring. I am saddened for the future that never was.

Some days I feel numb, I feel nothing. It is at those moments that I would welcome the end, for when there is but emptiness, what reason is there for going on.

Tell me what lies ahead for you. Are there any vacations planned to see your friends on the other coast? Is your son feeling better, your daughter enjoying work? Is your office busy? I know you feared that as you got older you might struggle to find clients.

I close this letter apologizing for burdening you with my problems. I know that many have it worse than I do. At least for me, my wife and my children are all still alive, still able to be touched, still able to remind me that there is something worth living for, worth opening my eyes for.  I do worry that my son's wounded leg may not be healing, as it continues to look ghastly.

Enjoy your holiday.

Your friend



Anonymous said...

Oh my God, this is so great. I love it. I think I love the darkness - The perspective is fresh and the imagery is fantastic. It's really moving. Again, it's screaming for placement somewhere


Anonymous said...

I could feel the despair of an innocent in a world at war... it does not matter where or when the war is/ was, the despair is the same. You've captured it.