There was only one period of time that I spent with Esme. Her and my Nanny came over from England and stayed for a month or so. It was the first time I ever met her, but the second I did I adored her. She was such a sweet, kind, little lady. She had a dog, Snowy, and would always show me and Zac…
Aunty Esme was truly amazing, I don’t remember her as well because I was too young, but I always remember how kind and nice she was, I only really have one proper memory of her, when we first got dumpling and she jumped onto her lap and made her spill her tea, but she didn’t get angry at dumpling she just laughed. Thats all I can remember of her in person. Her birthday cards and christmas cards where the best, every year, on time, with out fail, she never forgot a birthday. Even though she was just a friend of nannies she really was part of them family, she was like another grandma, the sweetest grandmother ever.
I hear homophobic slurs coming from an anonymous haze of the masses; I’m back in high school, walking through a never ending hallway of abuse and violence. A heavily built jock runs towards me with force I’m not able to prepare for; I’m sent sprawling on my back. He pins down my hands and sits on my chest; his face is chiselled and handsome. It begins to change into the wrinkled, scowling face of my father; the whiskey on his breath goes straight to my nose as he begins to spray abuse at me. He tells he’s disappointed, and wishes I was normal. I cry out in desperation that I’m sorry and I too wish I were normal. My father’s face disappears as I wake, launching myself bolt upright in my bed. My room feels empty, even with the noise of my dreaded platoon breathing next to me. I lay back down trying to get back to sleep. My chest feels as if it could float from the bed without the burden of my father upon it; I drift back into sleep.
I’m in my station doing cleaning duties, on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor. I hear three soldiers approach me from behind. Their voices are familiar; they belong to my squad, my tormenters.
“A familiar pose for you, eh?”
The leader of the three speaks in his thick southern accent; it’s always him, the bravest of the cowards. I don’t give him any response; it’s what he feeds off. He shows his displeasure like a spoilt child; resorting to kicking over my bucket.
“Do something, faggot!”
Once again, I don’t respond. In a rage, he grabs my broom and begins to prod me violently from behind with the handle. What have I done to deserve this degradation? I’ve never done anything to him, or anyone else.
“Are you trying to make a fool of me!?” his voice is cracking, he’s about to explode.
He hits me over my back with the broom. I briefly flash back to my child hood; my father is caning me, I snap out of it when his strong hands grab the back of my neck in an attempt to pull me up. I allow him; I haven’t the energy to fight back.
I’m just a ragdoll for society to abuse.
“You’re a worthless gay piece of shit, and you’re going to rot in hell.”
He spits in my face before finally tossing me to the floor, like a discarded toy.
“I know.” I mutter to myself.
I wake up from a dream of being a super hero, a moment of euphoria before reality hits me. I’m not a hero, just a joke, worthless; I’ve never felt like I do have now, the climax of my pointlessness. I’m dead inside. I open my bedside drawer, inside lays a pistol, which I pick up. It’s dark but I’m able to load a single bullet into the magazine. I pull back the slide of the weapon as I stand; I know what I’m doing, I couldn’t stop myself if I wanted. I walk over to the bed of the man who has destroyed me, he’s asleep. I raise the pistol to his temple, a sense of satisfaction rushes over me; the gun shot would wake everyone. I couldn’t get away with it; I may even be shot on the spot by one twenty or so trained soldiers surrounding me. It doesn’t matter, I don’t care anymore, as long as I don’t have to live this life; why delay it. Why not die at my own hands instead ruining the life of the man who takes mine. My life is non-existent; but I still have empathy. I can’t allow someone live with such guilt. I could just do it here, at his bedside; my limp dead body would fall onto his, the ultimate revenge, a perfect sacrifice. I raise the gun to my chin; feeling its cold barrel against my skin, I try my hardest to squeeze the trigger, but I can’t. I’m too much of a coward to take my own useless life. I walk with shame back to my bed discarding my pistol into my drawer.
My squad and I have been called out to a possible car bomb in central Baghdad. We are driving out in a Humvee; I look out the window when it catches my eye.
“RPG, RPG TWO OCLO-“
My warning is cut off by the deafening noise of an explosion. The Humvee is tossed into the air for a second, I feel weightless until the vehicle lands on its roof then rolls into an embankment landing on its side. Everything is ringing, dull and numb. I peer out the window which is now facing upward and take out the shooter with my M16, he drops to the ground like a sandbag; threat eliminated. I slide back in to the cab, to be met by two of my squad’s mangled, twisted faces. They are dead, killed in an instant, but the driver’s mouth is moving. I can’t hear what he is saying over the buzzing, but he needs help; his legs are trapped. I jump out the Humvee and open his door, his hand reaches out to me, it’s bloodied, beckoning for help, my tormentor. I hesitate before taking it, his grip is weak, but mine is strong. I pull him out of the destroyed cab, his legs are broken so I throw him over my shoulder; I walk him a good 200 meters before a rescue Humvee finds us.
When we get back to base, I’m honoured as a hero by everyone. The man who I saved, the same man who has belittled, humiliated and punished me pulls me aside to speak to me, his legs are being treated by a medic.
“I owe you my life,” he tells me in a weak voice, he speaks with honesty.
“I know, because you’ve already taken mine”
I’m a temporary hero, it doesn’t bother me. I’m just an empty shell now, emotionless, like after the explosion, numb, I can’t feel anymore.