Yet another (short) story I don’t remember ever having written, 16 years ago. The plight of the separated. War. Redemption. Perhaps it’s more of a “meditation” on the separation of two souls. The inspiration is obvious…and, in today’s world, all-too-common, unfortunately.
Why is it that there is the “evil that men do”? If there is more good in the world, why can’t we redirect our collective energies and rid the world of this “evil”?
That, I firmly believe, lies within each of us. We may think it lies with “other people”…but in reality, it lies within each of us not only to answer those questions, but to bring about the better world that we all give so much lip service to.
But this story is not about that. It’s about two souls…forced apart.
This story has never been published.
© F. P. Dorchak, 2000
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you must face the music.
To think back to your childhood…when you were basically not held accountable for much. Those were the fun times, happy times! Happy and carefree. Life was your amusement park.
You had no real responsibilities, aside from school and a few chores. If you had a bike, you were mobile and that meant freedom! The world was literally at your feet! And the challenges! Nothing went unchallenged. Everything was suspect, from your home to your school. You’d try to get away with as much as possible, testing the system. You’d steal that candy bar just to see if you could get away with it…stay out later and later on dates.
It was all part of being a kid.
The excitement of being a kid!
But then things begin to change about mid-way through high school.
Slowly but surely more responsibility was added to your life. No longer did things remain just mere “unaccountable challenges”…and if you became one of the few to go to war, you witnessed the atrocities of mankind. Things that seared your brain with an intense anger and hatred.
It was an anger at the cruelties and callousness of conflict. At how the Human Condition could inflict torture—mental and physical—upon another. You wondered how could such things be? How could—can—people be driven to perform such atrocities—horrible, unspeakable acts upon one and another.
How God could allow such things.
But it was and is real…and won’t ever go away.
The worst part is that it isn’t just confined to wars: it breeds…finding other ways to manifest…unleash itself. War (you find) just becomes a convenient excuse.
And while you’re in the middle of it all, you may find yourself thinking back to a particular girl you knew…before you left and everything went crazy. You think back to when you and her were an item.
Inseparable. In love.
You think back with a sadness that bites deep. You think back to when you told her not to worry…you’d be back.
She says, well what about all the others who’ve said the same? You look her in the eyes and tell her—with all seriousness—that you’re different.
Yes, you think back to that time…and how you began to doubt your own words. She was the one you really cared about.
You remember that when that night was over so was your relationship. No one said anything, but you both felt it. And it wasn’t that you would necessarily never come back…no that wasn’t it. It was the waiting…and what you might become….
She never wrote you and you never wrote her—well, maybe once. You did write her that one time just to let her know you were okay. But that was it. When there was no response, you knew why.
There was no animosity. It was just something that had to be.
And you did come back…all limbs and mentality intact. At least you think so. Maybe you are a little rougher around the edges—there was no part of your being that was not bruised from your “experiences,” “they” call them—but you were still you.
So you found your way to her place, that lone porch light still on the way you remember it. You knock at the door…her father answers. At first he’s glad to see you…but knows your real intent and you see his head slump forward just a little as he leaves to get her. You however, straighten yours up more.
You couldn’t have been more prepared.
You turn back to the street…your thousand-yard stare catches you off-guard…recall the fire fights…the carnage…the smell of death and destruction…but also the life you had before the war…before…before you’d changed….
Then a hand reaches out for you…and you turn.
You come face to face with her. You’re knees buckle. Something unhinges inside you.
Tears…pain…in both sets of eyes.
You weren’t the only one who’d changed.
You thought you’d forever lost her…and she you. Sure, she had her “experiences” (“they” call them) while you were gone…but she’d always held you closest…never really wanted to let you go. You can see it in her eyes. Feel it in the electricity between the both of you.
You were back…and so was she.
Back for you.
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