NationStates Jolt Archive

Waiting for War, by R. Dahl and A. Z. Soren

08-11-2003, 15:56
As published independently through the Data Havens.

Waiting for War
R. Dahl and A. Z. Soren

Waiting for war is not like waiting for death, though one leads to another. Waiting for war is not like waiting for a lover to leave, though pain follows both. Waiting for war is not like waiting for tragedy, though one is the other. Waiting for war is not like life at all. You hang, caught between moments, and are unable to live because you are waiting for something unthinkable to happen.

SeOCC is empty, and with emptiness comes silence, the silence of sound proofed walls made to house fifty thousand people in a single building. Watching the sun set against the harbor, where boats churned water with salty froth, the stillness is unnatural because you expect something quite different. You expect signs of life, but they are gone. Only patrols, riding battery powered scooters, remind you that you are not the only one left.

Waiting for war is not like anything else, it is not like waiting for someone to strike a blow, it is not like waiting for an injection, it is not like being buried alive. War cannot be understood by the human mind and I am thankful for that. War is too horrific, too terrible a reality, to be inflicted on the human mind. Like an abused child slipping into a comatose state we slide into numbness, the dull waiting, watching the sky, wondering what a missile looks like when it is flying towards you.

I enjoy time in the hydroponics gardens, where devoted techs still keep plants alive though no harvest will be taken. There are about ten thousand of these men and women who volunteered to stay and keep our primary local food source running so that those who return will not be left with nothing. I sometimes help by tending tomatoes and blue berries, though my hands are too old now to be of use many days. I find out it is easy to forget the war when you are touching another living thing that depends upon you for survival. My aid, though, will not help these plants when war comes. I shiver to remember what waits beyond our shores, outside the humid warmth of the greenhouses.

Waiting for war is living on the infinite edge that precedes an unmentionable, incomprehensible, hell.

We are scared. We are human beings.

I listen to the protests, these are war games, not a real war, go back to your business.

We are afraid. We are human beings.

They tell us the escalation is our fault because we prepared for the worst. They lecture us on responsibility as they march hundreds of thousands of professional killers towards our borders.

Our borders. Our home.

We are angry. We are human beings.

The insensitivity of these people, for I have no doubt the people of these nations would not support such cruelty, is what appalls me. It does not matter to them how we feel, or what we experience, or the effect placing these soldiers so close will have. They are, one might imagine, incapable of empathy. Age has taught me of empathy because I now have much to remember, and I can remember the feelings I see in others. I wonder if these people have never felt fear before, or if they simply do not care.

I am angry. I am a human being.

What do you expect from us? You bully us, you insult us, you threaten us, and we should accept this because you claim a right to do it all. Have you ever thought beyond what you have the right to do and what is the right thing to do?

What you are doing is not right. You can blame us all you want but it will not exonerate, it will not erase your own guilt. The mistakes of my government do not mitigate the mistakes you make right now.

I wait for this war, and though I do not pray I find myself asking idly that it not come. I am old, I will die soon, and I find that I am not afraid. I remember what was once said to me: do not cry for me, I was not born to watch the world grow dim; the lives of men are not measured in days but in deeds.

The light grows dim as the sun sets, appropriately, in the west, and I care not for the red tint the sky has taken. I wonder if this will be the end, the end of a colossal dream shared by millions of people. I have chosen that I would rather die than wake, if this is the dream we share, and so I wait, guarding my home with impotent vigilance. What remains as the sun dips underneath the horizon, beginning what the Celts called the time between times, is a great sadness that this may, one day soon, dissolve under a cloud of violence.

Between times, between night and day, the Celts said that we lived in uncertainty, and that the fabric between this world and the next grew thin. Between these times, between sleep and waking, between peace and war, between life and death, I am content to wait. This world will become what it wills itself to be.