Daily Archives: March 16, 2015

Part 3 of 7 Though Outwardly We Are Wasting Away

Gwen turns and follows the group heading up and mountain and cries. Her vision blurs and her chest heaves. She lets the heavy ache spread throughout herself and relishes in it. She lets the pain become real and the emotion to be raw and doesn’t hide it. She lets it consume her. Inwardly she was wasting away. Her mind was racing, but no thoughts came to her. Her hopes, and dreams, and passions felt like the dirt she was walking on. Walked on, and walked over. Why did the war have to start? Why did she have to move to the refugee camp? Why did she have to find Peter? Why did she have to start slowly to become enchanted by Peter? Why does Peter have to die? Why does Peter have to break her heart into as many pieces as she wished she could have said ‘I love you’ to him? Why does Peter have to die, and her to live? Questions, questions, question, only in death will be the answer.

 

Bernard and Peter begin to wait.

 

They start to say something, but it seems like too much effort to finish. They want desperately for the other to say something witty to take their minds from the ever coming thoughts. But there is nothing to say, feel, or express except for the wave after wave of mental exhaustion that humans feel when there is no way to condense what is happening in their lives.

 

But Peter does find the strength to start and finish one inspiring battle cry for the two weary best of friends, “He will not give us more than we can handle, Bernard. We can do this. ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ Let us pray, Bernard. Dear father, give us the strength to . . . give us the strength to protect your fellow children. Amen.”

 

Silence.

 

The friends lay upon their backs against the hard rock beneath them. They are waiting for the crunch of boots and shink of shovels to move the rock. They are waiting for the soldiers to tire out from shoveling the rock and for the surprise of the two young boys to defer the soldiers from reaching the others. But they only hear the birds grow quiet and the crickets become louder. They take turns of nodding off to a fitful night terror sleep. They watch the stars slowly poke out from the haze that humans call night. The friends lay upon their back against the hard rock beneath them.

 

The refugees take a three hour nap that is suppose to pass a night sleep, but for many they lie awake. Gwen lies awake thinking, but her thoughts become her nightmares.

 

She sees Peter and Bernard die in every possible way. She sees Peter being hit in the chest and with his final breath call out her name, and yet she is not there to comfort him. She sees the soldiers deposit bullets in his leg and step on it so that they could find out where the refugees fled to. She sees the soldiers riddle him with bullets and leave him, dead. She sees him save Bernards life and for only Bernard to die seconds later. She sees the soldiers push through the rocks and crush the two friend and not even a breath of time to utter a last word. She sees the soldiers take them captive and torture them into fighting for their side, but Peter is too strong and tries to escape, but is killed.

 

She sees all these things and yet she knows she will never know what will happen. She knows that he will die thinking of her. She knows he will die being a hero, even if he never wanted to be one. He will die, that is for certain. Whether it be by rock or bullet, today or tomorrow, a hero or trying to be one; he will die. He will die, and she will live on. She will carry on with his hope that he inspired.

 

She closes her eyes and makes peace with his death – that will never be true peace. Peace was never an option.

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Part 2 of 7: Though Outwardly We Are Wasting Away

These are the people I’m dying for: May and Ben, Calvin, Anna Maria, Mary Jane, Felicia, Fing, Fang, and Foom, Norman, Liz, Grandpops, Jonah, Betty, . . . and Gwen. I am giving my future for Calvin’s future. Calvin is sitting off  by himself like normal, but still close enough to hear everything. He listens to the words and watches the faces and feels the terror, like what I’ve done so many times before. His mouse- like features close in even more when he hears something that does not agree with him. I don’t know too much about Calvin, but I do know he was a professor at a college before the war started. He had a family before the war started, but not one currently. I’m willing to die for Calvin’s future.

 

“Hey Petey! ‘You wear clothes of the brightest of colors and bells ring on your every step. You laugh at me, I laugh at you. Tell me, what are you?’” Asks Norman smirking.

 

“Do you take me for a fool, Norman?”

 

“Do you me? ‘A nightmare for some. For others, as a saviour I come. My hands, cold and bleak, it’s the warm hearts they seek.’”

 

“To death you want me to go?”

 

“No, you don’t want to go there, and that is my point. ‘I can be stolen or given away and you will live, yet you cannot live without me.’”

 

“What does Gwen have to do with this?”

 

“Everything.  ‘I am nothingness, and the more you take from me, the bigger I get.’ A hole, Petey. There is a hole in your next actions, Petey. You are just putting on a show for all of us, then when the time comes, you’ll just run away. You’ll run away to your heart, Gwen, because you fear death, and you’re taking me as a fool.”

 

“I’m no gingerbreadman.”

 

“Oh no you aren’t, but your heart is, for Gwen.”

 

“I am going to die for you, Norman.”

 

“Why didn’t you die for our brothers and sisters fighting the soldiers?! The refugee camp is only for those who can’t fight in the war. You, Gwen, Bernard, all didn’t join the fight to protect us. Why didn’t you fight, Petey?”

 

“So that I can protect you now.”

 

“That doesn’t cut it! ‘I’m your follower in the light, Yet I’m invisible in the night, at various sizes I appear, I won’t harm you, have no fear. What am I?’ Petey, you’re a shadow of your father. You’re no hero! Don’t pretend to be!”

 

“I’m no hero, Norman,” Peter says with almost a despondent tone, “I’m no hero. But I’ll tell you what I’m not, ‘ You cannot see me, hear me, or touch me. I lie behind the stars and alter what is real, I am what you really fear. Close your eyes and I come near. What am I?’ The dark. I am not your enemy, I’m protecting you from the enemy. I will protect all of you, because when I protect you, I protect Gwen.”

 

“Do not play my games against me, Petey.”

 

“Pretty soon, I won’t be able to. Come on, Gwen.”

 

“Hey Gwen! Hey Peter! I’m just finishing up banaging up o’ Jonah here, come on over,” says Foom.

 

Foom is probably the most caring guy in our refugee camp. He devotes his life to helping people, so that he can figure out how to live longer. He is full of life, yet he does everything he can to prolong it. Foom is a very open guy, he’s almost a doctor – halfway to the degree before the war broke out. But he didn’t start this career until later in his life, I don’t know what he did before, but he and his brothers fight about it sometimes. He and his two other brothers live together down in the village and their hut is always open to visitors at anytime who need to talk. I will be happy to die for Foom.

 

“This younger ‘ere is so slow at bandaging me up, I’ll tell ye!” Jonah complains.

 

Laughing, Foom responses, “Well if ye quit protestin’, I’d be done a lot quicker.”

 

“If ye were a better doctor, I wouldn’t have ta!” Gripes Jonah.

 

“Ye know ye’ll never win a fight against Jonah, Foom. Ye just can’t, it’s against the laws of nature,” advices Gwen, smiling.

 

“I know, but sometimes ye just have ta try. There we go, Jonah, all bandaged up,” Foom leaves Jonah’s side and stands up, brushing the dirt off his pants, and says, “ye ready for all this ta come ta end for ye, Peter?”

 

“Of course not, but . . . it has to be done.”

 

Bernard comes over and says, “We need ta get the weaker and older refugees up the mountain first. So Jonah, ye wanna go with Foom?”

 

“Well, looks like I don’t have any other choice, with ye boys always pushin’ me around,” says Jonah, getting up from where he was sitting on the ground, favor his arm with the bandage.

 

Once Jonah and Foom leave, Bernard starts to say something, but stops, “Do ye . . . do ye really think we’ll be able ta hold ‘em off? I mean, we got mean ninja skills,” Bernard pauses to laugh at the joke, “but they got guns. I’m willin’ ta do it, but will it be worth it, Peter?” Bernard stops for a moment to collect himself, but can’t, “I’ve been tryin’ ta hold it together for the others, but I can be real with ye guys . . . Do ye think we can? We hardly believe we can . . . and ye see the way Norman thinks of us . . .”

 

“What do you think of yourself, is what matters. And yes they have guns. And yes most likely we’re going to die, but I think it’s going to be worth it, Bernard. Because you know why?”

 

“Ye guys have ninja skills? Oh brother!” Sighs Gwen, “Come on guy, ye have to make yer way ta the rockslide, and me the other way.”

 

It will be worth it, because we will have inspired hope.

 

With one last embrace, the three friends say goodbye forever.

 

“Greeting and valedictions, to a new world never seen by you nor I, my ever lovely Gwen.”

 

“Yeah, bye Gwen. Have an awesome life!”

 

Wiping away tears, “Yeah? Ye’re goin’ off ta die and ye say ‘yeah’?! Crazy, ye two,” and in a more sober tone, “I love you,” taking a deep breath and letting the tears flow, “I love you.”

 

Gwen wants to say it a thousand more times to make the moment last, but nothing can last forever. She closes her eyes and pictures his face, and then opens them to make sure she has every iota of him right. But she can’t encapture a person.

 

In almost a whisper, she says again, “I love you.”

Part 1 of 7: Though Outwardly We Are Wasting Away (A prequel to Therefore Do Not Lose Heart)

The delicate tentacles sprawl out in every direction, searching, searching, searching. The digits feel their way along the rough, yet smooth surface. They try to control everything that is in their reach, and have no variables not accounted for. But the dip in the surface is not accounted for and the fingers fall.

 

The spider crawls along side the mountain ledge next to me, but the inlet is too hard for the spider to hold on to and it falls. I know I should be looking and taking in every moment of Gwen, but if I do, it makes all this real.

 

“Peter, don’t do this. Peter if . . . if you do this, yer gonna die,” Gwen looks at me with the most pleading and sincere eyes.  But I can’t meet her gaze.

 

“I will fight. You will live. I will die. And there is nothing you can do to stop me. Promise me my death will not be for nothing. Promise me you will live, not just survive. Promise me-”

 

“You will live. I will survive. And I will always love you. Promise me you will come home. Come home to me.”

 

“Gwen, I- . . . I can’t- . . . I can’t make that promise.”

 

“Peter, don’t be a hero. You don’t have to be a hero; you already are one to me. I don’t want you to be a hero, I want you to be my-”

 

“I’m not a hero, I just a guy with a responsibility. I’m not doing this for me. I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this because of them,” he pleadingly explained, pointing to the piled corpses from the refugee camp below. “They didn’t die so that you all could die a little later. They weren’t murdered, executed, tortured, so that I could wimp out when I had to live up to my responsibility. Your mother didn’t commit suicide so that . . . You are their future. You continuing to live, that is my future.”

 

“. . . but Peter, my future is with you. I love you and will always love you. I can’t just sentence you to death!”

 

“This is my choice. All guilt, blame, whatever – if there even is any – is on me. No one out there,” pointing to the muggy sky and desert plains tinted crimson. “or right here,” placing a comforting but firm hand on her ruddy check. “has any part in my sacrifice. Don’t go on a path of vengeance. Go on the path of hope. No matter how buried it gets, or lost you feel, you must promise me, that you will hold on to hope and keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer. My wish for you is to become hope. People need that.”

 

“Peter, why do you always have to be so dramatic? Face the facts: you’re going to die here and leave me alone.”

 

“I will always love you, but don’t let that stop you from living. The ‘Us’ may die with me, but what we have will live on in you, with you. You will never be alone.”

 

“So, you’re basically saying ‘get another guy, if it makes me happy’.”

 

“NO! Of course not. I want you to be miserable for the rest of your life and mourn over your poor, drama-queen, hero-type, Petey. Gwendalyn, I don’t care if it is a guy or a dog or whatever. Just know I’m gonna be like right over your shoulder in haunting ghost form like in the comics and whispering to you every so often, ‘Crazy-town-banana-pants! Gwen, why did you let me die? Gwen! Psst over here, Gwen. Why do you have another guy?’ No. Live. Don’t let the end of the world, the end of us, the end of me be the end of you.” Then I say in our code: “Indeed?”

 

And she replies her part: “Very well then.”

 

A strong twenty – something young man comes around the corner of where Gwen and Peter had pulled away from the rest of the group. The man’s gate is confident, yet relaxed. His hair is mussed and windblown from the rockslide a half hour ago that had slowed down the soldiers chasing them up the mountain. Bernard waited patiently as Peter and Gwen ended their code, and then began to speak, “They have ta move, we have ta stay.”

 

Peter answered humorously with, “Well then get your ninja fighting skills on, Bernard! We’re not silly goons, but super secret awesome ninjas who are going to save the day for the world!”

 

Acting like the kids the they once were before the war start, the friends snuck into the shadows whispering, “We’re the world’s best ninjas! We’re the world’s best ninjas!” This made Gwen laugh, which she knew might her last shared laugh with Peter, and that made her enjoy it all the more.