I was moving back to the patrol just after a conflict, adrenaline rushing through my veins, hate poring through my body. A hate defined by the loss of a friend to a senseless blast. A child walked into the street where, moments earlier, there had been an explosion and gunfire. Fearless, she picked up a small piece of paper and walked towards me. She looked up at me, her eyes confused but shining with innocence and compassion. She extended her arm offering me the paper. I realized it was a picture of my daughter, a reminder of the life I had waiting for me, I had carried it the entire deployment. My heart melted, I dropped to my knees absent of all thoughts of security and war. Smiling, she began to talk, revealing the large crack in her font tooth and the absence of several others. I moved closer and heard her say, “She loved you,” in perfect English. I wanted to hug her, to tell here everything would be ok. It was in that moment that I realized love can overcome hate. She must have seen it in my eyes; she smiled then turned and skipped away as if everything was perfect.
Shortly after returning to base a runner came to retrieve me from my cot.
“No rest for the wicked,” I said, getting dressed.
“I think it’s a Red Cross message sergeant.”
“You think it’s a Red Cross message, or it is a Red Cross message,” I replied, Red Cross messages rarely deliver good news.
I made my way through the make shift offices called headquarters, the words of the young girl still cycling through my head, “She loved you,” past tense, it was making me crazy. Finally I rounded the corner where my commanding officer sat. He handed me the phone without making eye contact.
“Is this Blake Wilson?” a woman asked.
“There has been an accident, your wife and daughter were involved, your daughter didn’t make it.”
This is my entry to the Trifecta Writing Challenge week eighty six.