Chiseled From a Handful of Memories

photo credit: Sreejit Poole
photo credit: Sreejit Poole

The battles were
finally over
and that was good
because
he was just so tired
of fighting.
He looked for a nice
secluded spot
on the edge of the township
and found
a good sized rock
that he could sit on
to rest.
He kicked off
his boots
and let his toes
mesh
into the dirt
beneath him.
How long has it been
since I’ve felt the earth
he thought.
An unusual feeling
of peace
began
to pervade him.
Looking
at the village
through the slits
in his helmet
he saw kids running
and laughing
together.
Was I ever
that young.
That innocent.
He smiled beneath
the mask.
It was time.
It was time to
civilianize himself.
The warrior began
to take off
his armor.
Slowly
piece
by
piece
he removed it
and
in so doing
he remembered
what it was
to breathe.

As the sun light
hit against his skin
he let his muscles relax.
Seeing those around him
in a new light
he smiled at them
and
emotions
flooded his system.
What was this
sensation?
It was like
a cool breeze
flowing
through his body.
Was it love?
He had forgotten
that there was
even such a thing
as love.
Lust
he knew well.
But love
was not part of
the path
he had chosen.
He was a fighter.
Emotion
didn’t play any role
in his work.
But
now
opening himself up
he wondered why
he had ever put on
that wretched armor
in the first place.
So many wasted years
fighting battles
that had
no meaning to him.

Almost all
of his armor
was removed
when
seemingly from
out of nowhere
she appeared.
He remembered her
from somewhere.
With her head tilted
just
slightly
her eyes penetrated his.
So beautiful
he thought.
There was
understanding
between them.
She
moved in close.
She
whispered
in his ear.
The warmth
the feeling of
another human
was shocking
to his system.
Goosebumps
arose
on his arms.
And then
slowly
and
deliberately
she pushed
a knife
into him.
Confused at first
he didn’t know
how to react.
It had been
a long time
since he had experienced
this particular
sort of pain
and
he just didn’t know
what to make of it.
The blood
slowly dripped
down his leg
and then
a surprising thing
happened.
When the blood
reached
that last remaining
piece of armor
without
any effort at all
on his part
the armor
started to grow.
It grew so fast
that it seemed
that he
was almost instantly
once again
fully covered.
But this
was not like
the armor that
he had earlier removed.
It was shiny
and new.
Stronger.
Impenetrable.
Desperately
wanting
to breathe again
he tried
to remove it
but
it was of no use.
The woman’s wound
was not fatal
though
the pain of it
would persist
forever.
And
the armor
tied to the pain
was inescapable.

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