Hurt Locker

“The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”

I thought it would be easier somehow. It’s been years since you came back. Those days were a lifetime ago and you’ve never spoken of them since, then we don’t speak of much these days. But even then, back when that place was your life I made a conscious decision not to talk to you of your reality. That was my purpose then, to take you away from the choice you had made. One that I had never understood; I still wonder if you did.

The images on screen act as too potent reminders and I can imagine you there. Those same bathroom blocks where you would have brushed your teeth each night. Running water. Small comforts. Makeshift rooms with walls covered of anything that tried to remind you of what was waiting for you when you returned. Almost like college. Pieces of plywood propped up against windows. Little protection from what could attack from outside. Bottles of water I imagine that must be replenished every few hours. You need to keep hydrated. It’s the desert afterall.

I prayed for you every night you were in, and even for some nights after. Prayed that you would be kept safe. Prayed that you wouldn’t do anything stupid. Prayed that you wouldn’t get hurt. I never told you, you would’ve told me I was over-reacting, and you could have been right. I’ve never been able to not worry about you. Some of the people you let into your life, there’s little wonder. Perhaps that was where I went wrong.

I kept on waiting for you to make a mistake. Expecting it. Already braced for when it would come, for when you needed me. Always trying to hear what it is you weren’t saying, what you were hiding from me because you knew how I would react. Of course you would, because that’s all you ever knew of me. That person who always worried, who always showed up when you asked, who never knew how to say ‘no’ to you. No perhaps about it, I’m certain now. My own personal hurt locker, because that’s all I ever allowed you to be.

We both got out, eventually.

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