An essay written by my daughter:
(Taken from her blog, with permission)
Imagine at first, everything is bright and loud and clear. Joking with other guys your age. The boat ride there, the sky and ocean the same shade of brilliant, dazzling blue. The morning sun, throwing sparks off the glittering expanse of water. It is starting to fade, though, just a little.
Imagine the first day. Going to the battlefield with so many soldiers, and leaving it with so many less. The colours aren’t as bright as they were yesterday. Sweat drips from all the guys’ faces, but somehow, the smell isn’t as strong as usual, and your body feels so heavy and your eyes keep brimming with tears, and all you want to do is sleep.
Imagine the days are going by so slowly, too slowly. It keeps fading, and you’re aware of that, but you feel as if you can’t stop it. The wind sweeping brownish-gray leaves across the drooping grass isn’t as cold or as sharp as you remember it being on the first day.
Imagine thinking of your mother every day, wondering if she’s okay, hoping she’s not worrying too much, but of course she is, because she’s your mother. And imagine wishing your eight-year-old sister would stay inside, instead of going out into possible danger to play.
Imagine the day he left. Your little boy, going off to war. So young, too young, to be allowed a gun. Your little girl doesn’t understand. She runs outside joyously to play with her friends, but you collapse as soon as she’s out the door.
Imagine waiting for letters, for any news at all, of what’s happening out there. Your son couldn’t be hurt yet. It’s too soon. And even though you know a letter couldn’t get here this fast, you still keep looking out the window for the mailman.
Imagine the days are going by so slowly, too slowly. Colours blur together as you think about what could happen. Your throat feels drier than usual, and you wonder if the red of the teapot was a bit brighter before .
Imagine trying to stop worrying, but being unable to digest the leaden knot that has taken residence in your stomach. Your throat is always too tight, your shoulders are sagging, and the children’s laughter seems so far away.
Imagine it’s faded completely now, a trail of ashes. Your soul is gone, leaked out the bottoms of your boots as you marched. The world is black and white, all you can hear is a constant rain of gunfire, and you feel nothing. Nothing at all.
Imagine your cheeks are wet and salty, now more often than not. The letters from your boy are still coming, but shorter, with less personality. Your daughter’s cheeks are no longer pink, the teapot no longer red; the colours have faded, because you know. He won’t be the same when he comes home. He’s only eighteen. If he comes home, he won’t be the same.