...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Friday, April 22, 2011

War Love

I'm going to post a short story that is not a happy short story.   It's one of two short stories that I'm going to write this week for other bloggers, this one being for the ladies at In Good Company.  I'm not good at writing that way, but I've been repeatedly given the assignment to do so and I try very hard to be a good student of the Universe. I think It All loves me and if It All repeatedly asks me to do something by putting it in my way again and again, then I'm best served by following.
For some reason, in my normally and currently happy life, this is the story that wanted to be born:

War Love

Haley Black stood in the sunken valley of the endless tombstones, all uniform from a distance and only different in intimacy because of the names and the shapes of the god symbols that had been carved from the bleached white marble, the thousands of rock bones as evenly spaced as seconds on a clock.  
She walked through the rows and read each name that marked the way to the grave that brought her here to this marching stone testament to war. After a few hundred of them, she couldn’t look at the names without seeing their faces and she stopped reading names. The faces she saw weren’t of the boys buried in the earth, but the faces of boys she’d seen in the black and white photos she’d found in the box at the bottom of her mother’s closet.  Those boys were all laughing, smoking, lanky, and alive. These boys would lie perfectly still for the rest of ever and all that would live here was the green grass that lay on top of them. This was war.
This is what we do, she thought. 
This wasn’t where she wanted to be.
There was no way not to feel her soul splinter at the incredible and endless waste of all these boys, but she’d come here for a purpose that was larger than a roll call to death.   Her father lay here in this place.  She lived because he had once lived and the ritual of giving thanks to him compelled her as much as any instinctual act had ever driven a living thing.     She’d come here to say thank you to life among all this death, she’d come here to say thank you to life, to this life.  Haley set the heather she had brought with her down in front of the bone white cross and took a letter from the box in her backpack.  A young girl, Haley’s mother had sent it out in innocent love but it had been returned unopened.    In all the years her mother lived, she’d spoken very little of the man who’d been her high school sweetheart and never told Haley of the scores of letters in the lacquered box at the back of a deep closet.   In with the letters was a Kodak Brownie and fists full of black and white photos of a boy she’d never seen, of a boy who had loved her mother once, of other boys.  She opened the first of the love letters and began reading them out loud one at a time.  She read them all, out loud to her father and to the ten thousand, four hundred and eighty eight of his brothers in arms, his brothers in death.
This wasn’t where she wanted anyone to be.


  1. Geez Louise, where on earth did THAT come from? Girl, I'll say it again, I love the way you write. Such rhythm--the beating heart kind.

  2. Heather,
    I swear to you, I do not know. They aren't even my stories. I'm just glad I get to be an extension of whatever and where ever it is.. xo

  3. Hello and so charmed to have met you through the interwebs. I'm quite delighted to have read your beautiful story because, wow, you write so well. Thank you for letting my mind wander to places that it has not gone to before:)

  4. am grateful that you write and share with us what wells up from the spring of thoughts and ideas in your brain/heart...yea, I'd say It All is telling you to do something more with your talents...

  5. Alessa,
    you're very sweet and I assure you whatever joy you've gotten here has been a little sweettart of goodness next to how many smiles i've gotten from what you do with your bit of digital dominion. i'm just glad i can return the favor once in a while

  6. Maureen,
    The conversation I have had with my husband about this covers the kind of ground where you admit how frightening it is to get so much out of the way. I do love writing, but the Universe will have to pull me onto the dance floor, and push me into the corner to kiss my mouth into sweet submission. Basically, I'm a pain in the ass and am, at this moment, laughing at my own truth telling.

  7. Simply beautiful! Do keep writing, especiallly since you are so good at it. Join us again?

  8. GG,
    I will give it my best shot.

  9. You have painted a perfect picture, with so few strokes!
    Keep on writing!

  10. Dr. Antony,
    I appreciate the compliment and if I could have stopped I would have by this time. I admit it does seem to make me the slightest bit crazy. ;)


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