LOVE AND LOVERS
TOD HOWARD HAWKS
"I still suffer from PTSD. I take medications to help me sleep. Those bodies, all those bodies, arms, legs, bodies with no heads, old people, young men, children slaughtered, so many burnt to ashes and blackened bones by ******. Screams as loud as bombs exploding, silence louder than children laughing, a nightmare that has lasted years. And I ordered thousands and thousands and thousands of young men to their deaths, and now I cry myself to sleep. The medals, the ribbons pinned on my chest I came to detest. I have long ago burnt all my uniforms, but I cannot extinguish the horrors I planned and ordered. Love, and only love, gives my some solace. Love is my salvation, my only salvation."
Mr Ly then sat down on the sofa, wiping tears pouring down his checks. Bian and Jon sat on either side of him, holding him, hugging him. Not a word could be said. Only silence could be shared.
Finally, Bian said to her father whom she loved so much, "Father, forgive yourself. Love is the weapon against war. Killing, murdering, mutilating have been the way of human life for millennia, but now you and many others are fighting to right this wrong and bring everlasting peace to Earth."
The sun was beginning to set in Johannesburg. The three walked out on the balcony.
"After we defeated the French, I remember walking with my best friend to the beach. We threw rocks into the ocean. We were just boys having fun. We would roll up our pant legs and walk into the waves, splashing each other with our hands. We laughed. We were boys. Little did we know that we would be next, that so many who had been our childhood friends would also need to fight the fire of battle and death, that so many of them would have to perish."
The sun set below the ridge of Witwatersrand and the three walked back inside.