Untitled. For now.

4 Jun

“Is he serious?” she texted from the other side of the table.

She was the only female at the table, shootin’ the shit at the pub with the guys. They were celebrating the return of one of their own from a stint in Afghanistan.

“About what?” came the reply.

“About killing!”

A couple of the guys had been formulating the plan for the remainder of their slutventurous evening. The gay bar was always crawling with straight girls who, according them, were suckers for emotionally dramatic life stories. “Tell them you saved a girl at a bar in Cypress!” “Nah, I’ll just tell them I killed people to defend our country, haha.”

Norah froze when she heard this. She knew Liam was in the infantry, and that he was in recon as well, but she had never actually pictured him shooting anyone.

“Was he serious about killing people?!” she sent again, without waiting for a response.

“Dunno. Woulda been shooting thru a smoke screen, so hard to say.”

She chewed her onion rings as loudly as she could, in an attempt to avoid hearing the rest of Liam’s story. She thought maybe if she didn’t hear, she could shrug it off and pretend it never happened. But she couldn’t. She was present at the table, but wasn’t really there for the next five minutes or so. Could’ve been more, she probably wouldn’t have noticed. She tried her best to look like she was paying attention, but it was all she could do not to throw up. She couldn’t stop trying to imagine his situation. Would he have been in a helicopter? On foot? In a truck? Didn’t matter, really. She envisioned a sandstorm, or fog, or smoke all around, and tried to imagine aiming a gun, of unknown type and calibre, in the direction of the “enemy” and just…firing.

She thought about the young Afghan man on the receiving end of the fire. She thought about his little sister, and his pet dog, and his grandmother’s recipes. She thought about his intelligent mother and his stern father. She thought about his academic dreams, and about his worried lover, lying thinking about him in their bed.

“But… he shot at people?” Questions were really in vain at this point.

“Apparently.” She knew that already.

Norah didn’t know how she should react. A normal person would probably be thankful, or have huge respect, or buy him a beer, she thought. The best she could do was to not cause drama at the table. She felt selfish. She kept her mouth shut, stared awkwardly at the floor, needlessly adjusted her hair. Norah is a pacifist. Norah doesn’t believe in war. Norah doesn’t even believe in national government. She wanted a change in subject. She listened for her first opportunity. Thankfully it came post-haste.

“Ooh! What was that about the gay bar?”

She smiled.


2 Responses to “Untitled. For now.”

  1. Sam June 5, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    There are times in our lives where we’re called upon to either voice our opinions or hold our tongues. It takes courage to do the former at the best of times and even more courage if the person you’re disagreeing with happens to be a friend or someone you have an emotional connection to. While there may be times where perhaps its not best to voice our views the question that always boils up in my mind whenever I hold my tongue on an issue for the sake of keeping the peace as it were is: How strongly do I actually feel about this? There is a benefit in this of finding out what TRULY is important to oneself but equally as important in my mind is being able to have a reasoned discourse with people about it. Even if your views differ. It is perhaps possible to respect the courage and resolve of a person serving in the military without necessarily agreeing with the political reasons for them doing what they’re doing. As for the morality of killing in uniform…Thats another blog post.

  2. scratchingcat June 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    I very much understand where you are coming from. I also do not have the ability to compartmentalize in my head that people who serve in the military so apparently have.

    I still do see that there is a real person with real feelings and a real family on the other side of that gun barrel. I don’t have the Us versus Them you apparently need to make it in the world.

    Because if you turn that person into a nameless, evil enemy without feeling, into a creeping mass of badness, you might be able to shoot ‘it’. And if you have done so, you might need to joke about it to make it more acceptable in your own head.

    I can’t do it.

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