Soon, I will be able to smell the salt from our own shores. Soon, I’ll be breathing in Magnificence – air so pure and far from battledust, that my lungs may collapse in relief and with honour. Relief for service without death. Honour for the men that left us too early, wearing our flag and dying for our freedoms.
The boys on the Pennsylvania were gearing up for our return. All regulation garments and bedding for our sleeping quarters were commissioned for laundry; the head, the mess, and common walks were on a strict schedule for scrubbing and every White Glove was salivating at the thought of making one of us, do some kind of compensatory dirty job in return for our poor job.
I was busy checking reports to see that the I’s were dotted, as well as commander’s signature inked on the bottom line. I often found myself whistling while I worked to clear the documents from ole Shaggy’s desk. To say I was happy that the war was over, would be an understatement, because I was ecstatic to be returning to the wife I married, but had yet to love.
It was Sunday, and there shouldn’t have been a letter in the mailbox, but there was. It came straight from Washington, marked “Classified” and I did not know where the commander was. In the confusion of trying to find his itinerary for the day, I stumbled upon a note that I knew I shouldn’t see, but I couldn’t help But see it – the note read, PREPARE FOR COORDINATES 11°35′ N 165°23′E / 11.583°N 165.383°E / 11.583; 165.383; ARRIVE 20 AUGUST, ASSIST IN OPERATION CROSSROADS.
My heart stopped. All I could think of was Shannon. How can I tell her that I won’t be coming home? How can I tell my darling that the weapons we’ll be testing may cause my death? I wonder if she still has my grandfather’s pocket watch in the nightstand. I’d like to be buried with it.
-dld nov.18, 2010
for Icarus Flight to Perfection”s Writing Challenge
Posted in Narrations, Writing Challenges
Tagged "Classified", battledust, buried, collapse, commander, compensatory, coordinates, death, ecstatic, flag, freedoms, grandfather, home, honour, love, mailbox, married, mess, NARRATIONS, nightstand, Operation Crossroads, Pennsylvania, pocketwatch, Presumptive Ensen, pure, reports, salt, Shannon, shores, sleeping quarters, Washington, weapons, white glove, wife, WRITING CHALLENGE
We drove in silence,
as we always did
when we were going to a place we hadn’t been before.
Those other times when we arrived at where our faces were known,
we would take turns picking from the selection on the MP3
rejoicing our voices
in two-part harmony, at times missing the mark,
then breaking down in laughter and the ensuing conversation about who messed-up first.
Today was different.
It was not a silence between us,
it was the sound of the unfamiliar that resonated.
Sure, we’d gone on long road trips before, but
in all those other for-instances, we knew where we would end up,
we could pin-point it on a map, but
today was different, for we had no map,
we had no clue to where we would be spending
the night, beit a truck stop or roadside motel.
We didn’t need to pack very much,
we didn’t have a carload of the usual stuff,
only a photo-album and our birth-certificates.
Just those keepsakes that made us Feel.
But I don’t know what good it would do,
except proving we were were married and we had been born.
I don’t know what good it was at all,
since we were driving further away
from where the tsunami was expected to reach when it hit the mainland.
Today was different, alright,
because we both knew that the seas would keep driving
further than the gasoline would take us in the car.
And those birth certificates…
they were to become our death papers,
if there were anyone left to read them.
-dld October 26, 2010
Tuesday – We drove in silence.
Posted in Narrations, Writing Challenges
Tagged anyone left to read, away, birth certificate, born, death papers, drive, driving, faces known, feel, further, keepsakes, laughed, long road-trips, mainland, map, married, messed-up, motel, MP3, NARRATIONS, no clue, pack, photo=album, resonated, roadside, silence, sound of the unfamiliar, The Day The Music Died, today was different, truck-stop, tsunami, two-part harmony, WRITING CHALLENGE