I was there.
I saw what happened.
You might not believe it but that is probably because you don’t want to believe it. Our bodies aren’t supposed to look like that. We don’t bend like that, at least not those of us that are still living.
And the blood, oh my lord, the blood. There were so many puddles of it splattered around the room. I couldn’t decide what was worse the footprints that led away from that indescribable scene or the pool of red that had collected in that one place.
It was like a train wreck or a car accident. I wanted to look away but I couldn’t. Couldn’t stop staring at those things that used to be people.
Couldn’t stop wondering what happened and how. Did it hurt? Did they cry out in pain and or shock? Were they aware of what was happening?
Somewhere someone was crying or maybe sobbing was more like it. I can’t tell you why I wasn’t or how I managed not to throw up. I guess that I was numb and or in shock. At least I hope that is why I felt so much and so little.
They say that when you reach this point it is time to get out. They say that when you feel nothing your best bet is to find someone to talk to but I don’t have that. Truth is neither do they.
That is because we gave away our right to make decisions like that. That is because when we signed up we said we would do whatever was asked of us until such time as we were discharged.
Discharged. Every time I hear that word I laugh. It is such a plain and sterile word that says absolutely nothing and everything.
It is the perfect word for how they view us. We aren’t people to them. We aren’t humans that have blood, sweat and tears. We are just mechanical creatures that offer a bit more than the science fiction robots that use artificial intelligence.
Trust me, I know things. I know tales that I’ll never tell and stories that I’ll never share.
I want to. I really do. If I could get them out I might be able to sleep again but I can’t quite bring myself to walk down those gray halls of memory. I can’t go there in darkness or daylight. It is too much.
Except when I sleep.
Sleep always takes me back to that place and I see the things that I can’t stand to see. I remember what I want to forget. I stand in the places that I never want to see again. And I scream.
Or at least that is what they tell me.
I scream in my sleep.
No one wants to be near me then because they say what comes out of me doesn’t sound quite right. That is their way of trying to make me feel better but I read between the lines.
No one really wants to be around me in general because I am not quite right. Oh I can fool you for a while. I can make you think I am just like everyone else but sooner or later you’ll begin to see or sense things aren’t quite what you thought.
The other docs gave me some pills to help me sleep and said that they wouldn’t let me dream. They don’t work. I still see them. I still hear them.
Alcohol doesn’t work either. Doesn’t matter how much I drink or what cuz there is never silence.
Sometimes I think about my last normal day and wonder if I can ever find a way to go back. I picture it in my mind. I see this enormous canyon stretching out in front of me.
There is no bridge or way to cross it. Too far to jump and impossible to fly to. But somehow I still see everything that happens over there. It is all sunshine and roses. People laughing, children playing- just happy times.
That might be the worst part of it for me. I can see it. I can hear it. I can remember it.
But I can’t get to it.
It all goes back to the beginning.
I was there.
I saw what happened.
Doctors and Desire
Someone might want to tell the doc that there are better choices in music than the country music station we are listening to in the waiting room.
It is not because I don’t like country but because guys like me shouldn’t be listening to He Stopped Loving Her Today. You don’t want us to get lost in thought about people we loved and what happened to them.
Don’t want us thinking about days when we were whole and lives that we can’t ever get back. Don’t want us thinking about wives that couldn’t deal with broken men and who found now guys who were whole.
Some of us are aware that the rosy painted picture we have in our minds isn’t real and that we had hard times back then too. Some of us know that life was rough and that our marriages weren’t great before we left but we don’t think like we used to and we certainly don’t feel like we once did so you don’t want to push us.
Don’t want to push us out of the comfort zones we have built. Don’t want us to leave the hidey holes inside our heads that we have built because we haven’t much in the way of coping skills but we have lots of anger.
And we have lots of skill at releasing that anger in the most violent and destructive manner you can imagine.
I am here today because I want to do something about this. I am here because I was serious when I told the doctor that I have desires that I fear to speak about out loud.
And I am not afraid of much of anything anymore.
Truth is that my fear isn’t what normal people think of when they hear the word. My fear is that if I let go and let rage take over I will like it.
And there is no telling what will happen then.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a work of fiction I am writing.