Part 6 of 7 Though Outwardly We Are Wasting Away

It’s like when you’ve been crying and you take a washcloth and get it wet with warm water. You fold the washcloth into the size of covering your eyes, and press the warm water into your eyes. The water seeps in and makes the redness and puffiness go away. The warm water feels good against your itchy eyes, and you take deep calming breaths. You turn the washcloth over and new warmth enters. Slowly, you take away the washcloth, but still keep your eyes closed. You open them, but because of the pressure against them, everything is blurry for a couple seconds. The fuzziness of what you’re seeing matches how fuzzy you feel in your brain. You lean against the counter of the sink, and blink a few times to clear your vision.

 

That is how Peter felt and saw things when he woke up and turned to see his best friend’s dead eyes staring back at him. Peter blinked a few times to focus and sees the morning flies crawling all over his friend’s face and in Bernard’s mouth. Peter felt like he was going to throw up. When he leaned forward to try, he felt the unimaginable pain in his stomach.

 

The bullet.

 

He laid back down and tried to figure out how he survived. He looked over at his friend and by the limited knowledge of how bodies decay, he guessed it must have been two days since the fight. How could he have survived?

 

The human body can only live without water for three days, and I haven’t had any in two, and especially being wounded. Why am I still alive? There is no logically response, but: though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. God has taken care for me. I need to find the others. First, I need to take care of my wound.

 

Peter looks over at his friend. Bernard’s eyes are still open.

 

How can his eyes still have emotion, when he is not alive? They are so . . . sad. So desolate. His brow is knitted together in pain and of sorrow. He is dead, and I live.

 

Peter reaches over and gently closes Bernard’s eyes. Peter shoos away the flies from his friend. Peter tears Bernard’s shirt into making a gauze for his stomach. But before putting it on he has to take the bullet out.

 

The squishiness of his flesh and searching for the small hard bullet was almost all Peter could do. He found it, but it was a disgusting task, when all he wanted to do was sleep. Peter wrapped himself as best as he could and decided he need to crawl over to the other side of the rock pile to find food from the soldier’s camp. He slowly and painfully crawled over the rocks, with the sharp rocks jutting into his hurt stomach. He guessed it took almost an hour to make it down to the other side of the rock pile. And when he got there, the soldier’s encampment was another 500 hundred feet. Peter looked around for any source of water, and just about twenty feet more there was a small puddle.

 

But it hasn’t rained for days, well at least my clothes are not wet.

 

Painfully, he makes it over to the dirty puddle. He laps up the water like a dog, until the last drop. He wants to rest, but he doesn’t trust himself not to fall asleep, so he keeps on going.

 

Two hours pass and just 100 more feet. Peter starts to scope out where he wants to go first. He decides he needs water the most and then food, then medical. Peter crawls into one of the soldier’s tents and finds an extra canteen. Peter drinks half of it, not knowing where his next water might come from. Peter permits himself to sleep.

 

Peter awakens, and guesses it must be just before evening, by how much sunlight there is. He’s thirsty again, but only takes two small sips from the canteen. Peter looks at wound in his stomach, and it looks like it’s getting worse. He looks around for some alcohol to disinfect it and to ease the pain. He finds some in the far corner, no way the soldiers would go anywhere without their booze.

 

He pours some on his wound and it smarts real bad, and takes a swig. Blah! First time he’s ever tasted alcohol, and it’s nasty! At the refugee camp, alcohol is illegal and he has lived there ever since he had turned twenty.

 

Peter goes over to the other tent and finds a medium amount of food. There is bread, cheese, goat, milk, sheep, and dried fruits. Peter eats a little bread, not wanting to overwhelm his stomach for not eating for so long.

 

Once he finished his meal, Peter find the first aid kit and properly bandages and stitches his bullet wound. Feeling happy that he completed all that was on his list, Peter eats a little more bread and water, and falls asleep.

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