Friday Fictioneers – War Is Hell

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He wore his fatigues on the plane and thought about how he would have to listen to his mom talk about the price of milk at the grocery store. He would have to listen to his dad talk about golf clubs. He would have to listen to his girlfriend talk about The Bachelor. It was all he had wanted for the whole last year, as he fought, as he killed people, as his brain normalized the sound of gunshots and the constant threat of attack. But when the wing of the plane tipped over his hometown, he felt the squeeze, he had to act normal now, and he didn’t think he could do it. Afghanistan had wiped out normal for him, and the thought of having to float through his society again made him wish he had died with his friends.

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A little long this week, sorry. Friday Fictioneers: normally a story in 100 words prompted by a picture that Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts every Wednesday. Photo Credit: ©Rochelle Wissoff-Fields

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42 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – War Is Hell

  1. Oh, my, this is lovely. I often wonder about young (and old) soldiers I see in airports. I think they should fly free forever, wherever they want. You brought an unexpected tightness to my chest. Well done.

  2. I thought you captured his sense of displacement very effectively through the contrast inherent in these two lines – “he felt the squeeze” and “the thought of having to float through his society again.” It’s the prospect of trying to bridge that gap that now makes him an outsider.

  3. Dear Rachel,

    Thank God you didn’t write about a gremlin on the wing…

    Your story was thoughtful and heartbreaking and should be required reading for all those who stay behind. Very well done.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  4. One of my friends has just gone (literally last week he flew) to Afghanistan for his first tour with in the British Army (and I think it’s the last one we’re doing – though I’m not entirely sure), so I couldn’t help but think of him, when eventually he comes back. He told me there shouldn’t be a lot happening at the moment where he’s going, it’s mainly just packing up equipment and tying off lose ends – and I hope he’s right!

    With a bit of luck he won’t have to deal with the same level of internal conflict as the solider in your story when he returns.

    Thanks for invoking these thoughts in me.

    Chris.

    • Thank you, Paul! Your praise always amazes me, especially since you write in rhyme and meter. I’ve tried rhyming before and can’t do it. So when I read your work I’m always in awe! I find it very encouraging that you like my work since you are such a talented writer yourself.

  5. Life goes on for us – groceries, golfing, television – but not for them. Even when they return, it’s not the same person who left. Well done.

  6. Rachel, The airlines should be convinced to let soldiers fly for free. Years ago, even the families of employees of the railroads used to be able to ride for free. It looks like we’ve forgotten those amenities. I think our service men and women deservie at least that, plus the support of medical staff in the VA hospitals back home. Instead we see corruption in the system. It’s truly a scandal. Well-written story. 🙂 —Susan

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