I walk the course of the pavement. I pass houses, people, animals. The sun illuminating orange on the back of my eye lids. I balance on the edge, on the stocky brown line between the tarmac road, and cobbled path. It's peaceful, calm. But still too early of a Monday morning I think. I finally open my eyes, looking down at my scuffed black school boots, thin cotton tights. And I watch as the memory melts into reality, the silhouette of those young feet, the boots growing longer. They were wider, taller, stronger. Army boots, fit for a solider.
The air tightens the further we march, in a pattern of perfectly straight lines. Chins up, though the pride had ran out long ago. We all had one thing in common. The will of a warrior. Yet, not all of us bore the same instinct. The sun is blinding. And we are ready to fight. The heat projecting on our faces, sweaty and stern. We all looked the same. But one of the many pleasurous thoughts I summoned on these early morning marches blossomed once more. We were all thinking something different. I was. And nobody but me knew what.
The rocky surface crumbles under the weight of my footsteps. The echo of the sergeant's booming chords, telling us to turn. We do so, thoroughly. Beckoning our muscles to lead us around a collage of large cave-like rocks. I drift off into my imagination. Something that we were not expected to do. Something that, I wondered, if I was the only one who did. It was my most fragile feature, delicate compared to the rest. But in the same way more treasured, more accompanying. Soft against my tensed figure. More destructive, my imagination. Memories, thoughts, fears and all. My mind. Easily broken. Not so easily fixed.
The sky is clear, as blue as the most unearthly pupils. Only a portrait above us, motionless. I often was curious to whether, someone else, under that same sky, was thinking what I was. Probably not. I feel strong, certain. But annoyance and humor still travels through me from time to time. That sad or happy tear, joyful laugh.
It is then that the annoyance strikes me. I cannot move. I am not permitted. All I can do is watch as a small buzzing fly rests on the tip of my nose. Great. It tickles, releasing a sense of freedom in my joints, but all I can do is carry on ahead. I twitch a couple of times, holding a sneeze in. I hold my breath. The itch travels down my throught, the fly remains still. I am distracted now, clearly. Not only from the march, but from what I am thinking. I am not happy.
I wonder, what are the fly's thoughts? I certainly was board. But all that seemed to come to mind when I divert my gaze down, is how much I wan't to swat it. I loose step, reminding myself without looking down. Left, right, left right. I hate insects, I whisper through gritted teeth, so quietly I barely even know myself that I had even said it. It's wings flutter, it seemed to be considering this. It flys off. Though the sense of it still lingers.
My hair is forced back into an exceptional bun. A hair net wound so tightly, and so roughly bound with hairspray that it feels sharp. Like the pricks of a needle, when it shouldn't even come close to the hay in the haystack. Of course it didn't matter, I had grown used to it, as everyone had. The uniform I mean, the procedure, the routine. Not the killing. No, never that.
We knew the day would come. The day that we would target our enemy, have them in our sight, and fire. It all happened so quickly that we didn't have time to care, not until afterwards anyway. We protected ourselves, defended our homes and family's. We prevented any harm touching our country, the innocent. But deep down, we all knew that it was much bigger than that. Much more complicated than our cherished bravery.
We were honerd of course, valued. We counted. We affected things, just not as much, and as strongly as we would like. I never knew which second would be my last. Which situation I would be in. But what I did know was, that it would finish with me. That last thought, unpredicted, as that was the one reaction that we were not trained to automatically have. But what we were meant to understand was, that we died a hero. I hope that is my last thought, but I highly doubt it. I knew that I was very random, and that it would probably be something stupid, like 'Ouch, that hurt'. We all faced death, and even if I didn't die here, I knew that I would remember those who did. Those who march next to me now, in those boots fit for a solider.