The Almost Warrior
A new edition for Fragments of Fiction:
I remember things. I remember places, events and people. Little moments in time that stick out in my memory. As I walk through my past they call out to me, like carnival barkers they beg for my attention. Some of them are warm and inviting, echoes that are worth looking at again.
Others are less inviting. Dark moments of places that I’d rather not see again. Memories of pain and loss that still prick my skin. Their siren like cries beg for my attention. And though it is against my better judgment I sometimes stare through their window and watch the past unfold again.
I see a happy boy/teenager/man fully engaged in whatever it is he is doing, unaware of the darkness that is about to be unleashed upon him. And though I know it to be impossible, I try to gain his attention and warn him. I cry out and beg him to stop. If only he’d listen to me he would be spared untold hours of disappointment and misery.
Of course the warning goes unheeded and I watch him be overwhelmed by the waves. In spite of this I fight to break the door down. I look for an object to smash the window thinking that if somehow I can get in there I might still save him.
The cavalry never comes. He is alone and it is up to him alone to find a way to survive. He must be his own hero and he must find a way to rescue himself. It sounds like a very lonely existence and at times it is. He often feels as if he lives alone and apart, but he knows the warmth of love and friendship too.
That warmth and love is extended from him as well. He is well loved and has friends who would die for him just as he would do for them. He isn’t conscious of how this serves him. He isn’t aware that this is a life vest that keeps him from drowning.
But can you blame him. He has been nothing but a fighter his entire life. He doesn’t know any other way. Sometimes you can hear him scream in rage and frustration. The feelings are palpable and radiate off of him. There is no misunderstanding his emotions, no poker face. In a different time he might have been a warrior.
A mighty warrior who would have destroyed all enemies or died trying. They say that there is an honorable death on the battlefield. He wouldn’t have sought death, but he wouldn’t have feared it either. He likes to think that he would have always fought for the underdog and that he would have been the one to save her.
It is not your typical hero or savior complex. He doesn’t care about being acknowledged by others, doesn’t want that sort of praise or attention. His primary focus is upon taking care of those he cares about. She lies there in the back of his thoughts, her presence is inextricably linked to his.
And that is part of the strangeness of it all. She and he who once were everything to each other are not any more, at least not in the traditional sense. They do not speak or communicate by traditional means.There are no telephone calls, no text or email. No handwritten notes to share.
Now they walk different paths. Their roads do not intersect and they wonder if they ever will again. In the still and quiet of the night they remember. They close their eyes and feel the presence of the person who filled their soul with quiet and contentment.
Sometimes in the dark they cry silent tears of regret and stare at the ceiling wondering what the other is doing. Two souls that are still linked, that is what they are. Two souls who share a connection that was never broken and probably will never be severed. At times it is painful to feel the empty places. They close their hands and are surprised not to find the other holding it. No fingers intertwined and no easy breathing next to them.
But in the great contradiction of life that connection also serves to give them hope. The pain is mitigated by the sense that their life partner is out there still. So they stare at the moon and silently whisper about lost love and feel an unbridled optimism that the empty space between them will not always be so.