Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Aftermath of Absolution

I'd trekked my way over the last dune beyond our makeshift barracks, with nothing but a rucksack holding my notebook, pen, and bottle of water. Where I had expected more nothingness, more sand, I found a plateau just over the ridge. I found a paradise in this desert.

I'd settled down, the hot sun over my head, a moment of calm and ironically, peace, in this landscape so inundated with visions of destruction. I sat, writing in my notebook, getting lost in the words that were now so rare, the pen clutched in my callused and roughened hand.

A shadow. A man. Out of nowhere. He was smiling inquisitively, light pool blue eyes, sandy eyebrows squinting down at me. Greek perhaps, though his skin, too, was the deeply-coloured brown as would be expected under this sun. His body language shouted a particular interest, even before we exchanged a word.

'Which paper you with?" he asked.

"Paper?" I squinted up at him, confused.

"You're a correspondent right? War correspondent?" He nodded at my notebook and pen.

"Corr..." my mind had to reshuffle a few times to fix the word in its place. "Oh. No, I'm with them."

"Huh," he blinked. "You're ... enlisted?"


"War isn't meant for a girl like you," he said, confusedly. His whole demeanour had changed, almost deflated. Now, he couldn't get away fast enough. His retreating footsteps were quickly erased by the gusting sand.

War was all I had ever known. 

Once more I bent my head to my notebook.

This is what the heart does. It bowls away entire civilizations, exploding, again and again. When you think the dust has settled, love drops his bomb on you thinking it's all in the timing, and he drops it and runs. Runs to a place where he himself will be safe, far away from the aftermath of the explosion, somewhere where he himself will not get hurt. That's why they say that love lasts forever, because he hits you with all he's got and runs for safety once you're in flames, once you are broken.

Love and war aren't exactly two opposites. Love is war. 

Love, not the coward love who runs, but the real guy, Love. He knows how to play war. He drops the bomb and holds you tight as you both disintegrate. He knows that it is by holding on that we remain standing when the dust finally settles. War is all I had ever known.