The Soldier

by joetwo

We had just started the dinner when it came

A loud banging on the door

Three soldiers entered our house

Covered in dirt-grey fatigues

Guns held close to their chests

As if spring-loaded, poised to release their violent potential

We knew the drill

My whole family stood meekly in the kitchen, holding each other

They asked if that was all, I said yes

Their leader looked us all up and down

Eyes spending a little longer on my daughter, barely fifteen

They took out a series of photographs and asked if we had seen any of these people recently

One was of my son, they had told me he was dead, killed in the fighting

Two of the soldiers left the kitchen to search the house

One stayed to guard us

His face followed the noise of his comrades

The noise of falling keepsakes, of privacy being violated

He looked more nervous now

Almost childlike, almost like

My son, my boy

Could it be?

I couldn’t stop staring, my heart wouldn’t let me

He noticed my eyes, the fear grew in his

The resemblance was uncanny, I had to go to him, to take him in my arms

I started to get up, my wife’s hands feebly tried to hold me back

But what is a woman’s strength against a fathers love?

I raised my hands, in welcome, to embrace him

He moved back, ordered me to sit down

I paid no heed

The gun started to move, someone started to cry

I wanted my boy

A crack, a shot, oblivion

I am with my boy again.