Atrocities of War

In that moment Paulette stepped outside anything that had ever hurt her before. Harve needed her more than she needed herself.

But she had nothing to say. Nothing to offer him. She came up empty.

“I may not have shot any of those babies in safety seats, but I took out my share o’ guys in a country I started thinking we had no right bein’ in. I could tell myself they’d signed up for it, knowing they might not go home, but that just didn’t cut it after a while.” …

… “Oh, they were scumbags, alright. Other guys in my unit’d be ready to just level the kids too, cause they were getting in our way, but I said, Wait. Let me try goin’ in first. Let me come at ’em from the rear.

“Other times I just lost myself in the righteous glory of cluster bombing the hell outa those bastards.

“And for that one moment, in all the cheering and explosions it’s like all was right with the world. It was John Phillip Sousa at Disneyland.

“But then you wake up a little. You just snuffed out future generations. Maybe bad guys can have good kids if you let ’em. We’ll never know now.”

He was coming close to crying.

“And then you see all those pieces; kid parts lying everywhere.

“And their little faces.

“If they even still had faces.

“Once you finish throwing up, and then toss back a few at camp pub, your next job is to find something inside you that you can bury that under.

“And then … what? Just go on living?”

– From “The Gardens of Ailana”

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