Behind a soldier’s mask,
They hide their pain and push away the memories,
Despite the efforts they made,
I could still see it in their eyes clear as day.
Every exhausted frown masked by laughter was seen in the dulled colors of their irises,
Every painful memory and injury pushed away by smiles,
Overly happy gestures was seen in the broken, beat down look their eyes held.
They were battle-trained warriors,
They were strong and loyal heroes who continued to push on even when everything screamed at them to give up.
They were soldiers and pawns in a ruler's game,
Fighting a war ****** upon them without a choice,
Without a chance to get their feet beneath them,
Before the burden was placed on their shoulders.
Yet, in their smiles, they were children.
They were teenagers who'd been forced to mature way too soon,
Who didn't get a chance at a normal childhood
They were the sons and daughters of poor families,
Who were given a life they hadn't asked for yet were forced to accept it.
They were the young men who fought because they'd be killed otherwise.
They were children dressed in battle armour and sent to war,
Before they got the chance to grow up.
They were teenagers who formed facades of false smiles.
And forced laughs because they couldn't change who they were and what that meant.
They were those who played a ruler’s game
Because the fate of their lives was decided centuries before they were brought into the world.
I watched as they smiled and laughed and enjoyed the peace while it lasted.
I watched as they teased each other and told stories and enjoyed the normalcy of it all.
But I knew deep down,
They just want to rest,
To live a life without war,
To be weak and cry out their worries for once,
To not be a solider and enjoy what life should be,
To not hide behind a soldier’s mask