February 21, 2012
THE CHILD-SOLDIER DREAM
Faded paint, on tires worn smooth from countless miles rolling across rutted sand and jagged rock, the tired old truck heaved a raspy sigh of relief as it ground to a halt in the center of the village on another sweltering day in the sun. At first glance, the human cargo standing in the bed of the WWII relic appeared to be a squad of battle worn soldiers, rifles in hand, silently smoking and keeping a watchful eye out for any perceived threat from any direction. I let my eyes roam across the group. I was careful not to stare too long in their direction for fear of drawing any unwanted attention upon myself.
Something just seemed out of kilter, so again, I took in the scene. This time, risking a little time to get a more complete picture. The apparent leader caught my gaze and stared me right in the eye. What I saw there, I’m not sure I will ever fully understand . . . . Before me stood a man-child . . . Barely out of puberty, dressed in worn clothing 2 sizes too big, his hand comfortably resting on a weapon nearly as long as he was tall. There was an air of authority about him as he shared in the nervous banter within the group, but his eyes told a different story altogether . . . . He held my stare for the briefest of moments, but in that short span, what we shared, stirred me to the very depths of my soul. A SILENT DESPERATE PLEA…FOR HELP.
Having seen too much, too soon in his short life, the terror and trauma of untold horrors overwhelmed the thin veil of bravado and my heart just ached to grab him by the hand and take him away from all the ugliness that had become his life. . . . . Harsh words came from behind and we looked away to take in the commotion . . . . A group of young boys from the village were forced onto the truck. Two frightening men with guns herding them with sharp blows to the head and threats of violence if they didn’t comply. The old truck rumbled to life and rolled out of sight, the scene forever etched on my soul . . . . . . .
Jane, this was a dream I had last night . . . . . You know i have no money, but if there is ever ANYTHING that i can do to help, please let me help you. . . . . Thanx, David Ross