Goodbye to home

Written by: Cat Way

  Sand in my lungs and in every nook and cranny possible, nothing out here not even a simple bush or tree. Everything is dead and dry as a bone. My own skin holds no life, rough and leathery like jerky. Desperate need of lotion, even more of a need for a place called home. This heavy helmet keeps the cooling breeze from touching me and this scratchy, too small for me uniform is thick and full of sweat.They never told you that you would come to a point where you wanted to die, they never said how many people you would see die, they didn’t heed you no warnings all they told you was that your army strong and a brave soul. The jeep’s engine dies and we come to a sudden halt, Sam gets out of the drivers seat and calls break. Break from what? There aint no break here, but we smile and take our helmets off and rest our stressed shoulders on the bars of the open rear vehicle. James hops out and pops open the button on his pants, struggles with the zipper and takes a piss, back to the wind but not back on us. Nick hands me his canteen and I nod with a thanks and take it quickly, my mouth is drier than a cotton field. Syrupy saliva the color of old tobacco form little bridges from the mouth of the bottle to my chapped scaly lips. What I would give for a ice cold beer, sitting on my porch with my woman by my side. I gaze out in the desert and imagine what life will be like when I get home. They will have a huge party waiting for me at the front gate and wash me with hugs and tears. Balloons tied to the fence, all blues and reds with dots of white. Food piled high on tables for hungry soldiers, smeared make up on all the womens faces. My 4 year old daughter running up to me in her favorite pink flower dress. I drop my stare from the clear sky and look at the man in front of me, his face caked with grease and dirt, his clothes dusted by sand and clay, sweat stains on the chest and even bigger ones that formed under his arms. He looks like the devil himself dragged him to hell and back, a shame to look how he looks, but we all look the same. He hunches over, helmet covering his eyes, hands together and elbows on knees, a stance for a dead man. I put my hand out to give him his water back and it takes him a moment to look up and retrieve it. He looks me in the eye for the first time, the green is brighter than any I have ever seen on a man. He gets a old beat up photo out of his chest pocket and hands it to me, a tall beautiful woman is smiling back at me with big brown eyes, almost like burned honey. Hair that falls over her shoulders like waves of oil. A small bundle in her arms, you can see the tiny hands poking out of the snow white teddy bear covered blanket. I look back up and find him staring at me with tears coming from his eyes like a busted pipe, he picks up his pistol from his inner jacket pocket, puts it to his temple and screams like a lost child and pulls the trigger. The sound of his skull shattering, if I ever dream again this is what it would be, it was a crunch like noise with a splatter to compliment it. Blood and brains paint the back of the jeep like frosting. I will never forget this man. Killing for peace is like ****ing for virginity, you can never win. I pick up his gun and look back up at the sky, I was never meant to see my family again. You can hear the bullets flying through the air from a short distance, grenades explode and bombard your ears. The enemy is running toward us, rising on top of the sand dunes with their arabian hunting knives above their heads and guns on their sides like a infant to its mother's breast, thats what they are doing they are hunting us like deer. Clutching the photo to my heart I raise the gun to my head, take one last breath and hold it, squeezed the trigger, the last death I will ever see is my own.