Thanks for the go-ahead on my new post. I really like what I wrote but know that there is room for improvement so feel free to nitpick as you see fit. I also don't have a title for it so if you can come up with one that isn't cheesy (as all of mine are), I'd appreciate it.
Hope you enjoy it:
The heat was unbearable.
I know what you’re thinking. He’s from California…shouldn’t he be used to the heat?
That’s your first problem there. You’re assuming you know what my life has been like.
I was a nerdy kid in high school with hypersensitivity to every God-awful speck of existence on this planet. That includes the sun.
To top it off, I’m a total wimp and complain at every which moment about whatever random anxiety I’m having.
Right now, an intense desire to sneeze is slowly building up. You know what I’m talking about. That weird creeping feeling that seems to start at the tip-top of your nose, slowly vibrating down towards the ends of your nostrils, at which point you’ll crunch up your eyes, clutch your mouth to your nose, and await the eventual eruption of carbon dioxide, bacteria, and the random shot of snot or two. If it were up to me, I’d just let my nose do its thing.
If I did though, I’d give away my squad’s position and a Hell’s flurry of led would rain down on us from on high. Or at least that's what we were led to believe.
See, we’re on another routine scouting mission about 20 or so miles north of Ghazni. We’re suppose to search a few of the nearby hillsides for Osama Bin Laden, terrorists, or more tubes for the internet. I’m really not sure what it is that we’re looking for but we’re looking for it. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a deal but this being Afghanistan and all, you expect every mission to end in a fatality or two.
God, if only I could be one of those lucky bastards. A bullet to the head. Stepping on an IED. Maybe getting my throat slit by an AWOL soldier while I dreamt about biting into a cheeseburger (sans the onions of course).
Yeah, I’d get a Medal of Honor for sure.
No. Fuck the medal. I just want to die.
Anybody would in this heat. What else would you want when you’re wearing 80 pounds worth of armor, clothing, guns, and spam?
The root of my psychosis delves back further than that. I’ve been asking for death to take me since I was 16. I just couldn’t ever decide how to meet him halfway. Either that or I’d experience something new that would make life worth continuing.
At 16, it was a fairly positive coming out experience that kept me going. Since the closet was behind me, I knew that I wanted to meet the guy of my dreams, fall in love and get married. That optimism spurred me to move forward in hopes of meeting him.
Like anyone else, I had my expectations for him. He’d have to be tall, handsome, funny, smart, extroverted, and be able to appreciate my quirks. I wanted someone who wouldn’t laugh at my Princess Leia cosplaying, who’d make me smile when I was down, and who’d fill in the gaps of silence that I normally initiate.
I made a few mistakes along the way but at 17 (haha, I know that doesn’t seem like a long time) I met an awesome guy who did all of that and more. We were young and idealistic and were able to make 4 years worth of bitter sweet memories together.
We were our first loves.
The glazed look in my eyes quickly vanished as I stood at attention.
“Walk up that ridge and confirm we have secured this area.”
Drawing my eyes to the top of the ridge, I took my first step and remembered what our walks home were like. Every step was an eternity where we shared what little we knew about each other. Each step was racked with nervousness and anticipation. Would I tell you something you didn’t like? Would that put you off and end our romantic endeavors?
I was closer to the ridge now.
My feet were unsettling dust and pebbles that probably haven’t been disturbed by a Westerner’s feet for ages.
That first time we broke up comes to mind. I was so hurt by what I perceived you did. My insecurities got the best of me and I couldn’t believe that you could remain faithful to me…and we broke up.
The months that followed were pretty horrible and left me damaged and torn. It’s really the main reason why I never made any new friends at college. Why I chose to hide in my shell and pretend like I was invisible.
I still do that to this day.
The hill is steeper than I thought. Must be all the weight I’m carrying. I have to get on my hands and knees to make it to the top. I hear my Commanding Officer shout something but my company suddenly seems far.
8 months passed and we got together again. Sort of. We were both hurt…and we played games with each other for a good long while. As time passed, my heart started giving away and resentment started to take hold. I felt like I could never be enough for you. I was slowly killing myself.
I’m almost at the top. My eyes peek over the ridge and I can sort of see one of the nearby villages below.
Years past. We had good and bad times. It seemed like everything was falling into place. The games had stopped and we were on solid ground. Then I enlisted. I wanted to see the world and experience new things.
You hated that idea from the get go. Maybe deep down, you realized how fragile you and I really were. I thought we were stronger than any force on God’s Earth. A little time apart is nothing compared to the eternal love we shared. I had absolute faith in us.
Then the games started up again. You couldn’t bear the burden of a long distance relationship…even though I promised you the world when I returned. The grey areas were set up again. I met someone else. Our world came tumbling down.
My hands grasp the top of the ridge and I start pulling myself up.
The smiles, the laughter, the heartache, and tears, it all hits me at once.
Where did our love go?
My radio clicks. “Ramirez. Is the area secure?”
I turn off my radio and scan the valley around us.
I reach for my M-16, turn, and stare down at my squad.
My first shot hits my Commanding Officer in his right thigh. I bet that hurts.
There’s confusion. They don’t understand what I just did.
My second one tears through one of my fellow grunt’s shoulders. He’s probably not going to be jacking off for a good long time.
Now they get it. They scramble for cover while I stand tall on the ridge with the sun beating down on my back.
It’s too fucking hot here.
I fire a few more pots shots hoping that they feel even more threatened by me and recall what your lips felt like that first time we kissed.
“And I have to speculate that God himself/ Did make us into corresponding shapes like/ Puzzle pieces from the clay”
I think about our song and even that fails to capture the beauty of what we created that day.
My Commanding Officer yells into his radio. I hear them confirm the order.
Holstering my M-16, I take aim at my C.O.’s head. I won’t fire though. That’d be selfish of me.
The heat was still unbearable.
It wasn’t what I expected. It took me a few seconds to realize that the bullet had torn through the front end of my skull and exited through the back door. It was like a ballet of led, brains, blood and bone; a beautifully painful dance between mortality and flesh.
How utterly appropriate.
It would have been more poetic to have shot my heart.