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Inevitable

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L’amour est Inevitable. Google Translator had told me that it meant Love is Inevitable. It was one of the reasons I had bought the shirt- that and the way the gray shade would look perfect in a black and white forest setting. It also helped that it was the softest shirt I had ever owned- that in itself was impressive. For my entire life, it hadn’t been Love is Inevitable; it had been Death is Inevitable. These three words were always quickly followed by “that’s why you need to die the right way, in the army.” The phrase was my mother’s constant refrain. Duty, army, war. They became synonyms for heroism, respect, and perfection in Mom’s mind, but to me it all represented a fate to be avoided at all costs. I never wanted to bin the army, I never would go to war, and I could never, ever tell my mother any of that. “Remi Ivory Fullem, I’ll be so proud of you when you go into the army.” That was my first memory of Mom after she came back from Iraq. Now it’s the only one I remember.

Sinking into the red velvet, I looked in horror at the large screen in front of me. Mom solemnly nodded her head and ate popcorn to my right while on the other side of me Dad quickly scrolled through his emails before glancing up and realizing he’d been caught doing work. ‘Shh,’ the finger to his lips said to me, ‘don’t tell your mom.’ He looked back up to the screen and assumed a studious expression in case Mom would, by chance, look over at him. The 12-seat plush screening room was soundproof, but I knew it wouldn’t top the noises from escaping into my nightmares later in the night. I remember one episode in particular when the soldiers were bombed, the debris mutilating the trees until they looked like a forest of grotesque totem poles- patterns cut deep into their lengths like the scars that killed the men. The images make frequent visits in my dreams; only in these I am the tree, a patchwork of red and flesh with my mom beaming proudly from the foliage below. Steven, mu brother, was exempted from watching for the night because he was off with friends watching his girlfriend’s play; I was stuck on my own without his sympathetic grimaces. He alone knew what I was going through.

Everyone took the doses of watching The Pacific differently. Mom watched it with pure joy, reveling in the nostalgia. Dad took it as a daily way to express his love for Mom- not that it stopped him from complaining about it. Steven watched dutifully with his phone in his lap on silent and dim. I watched while sitting on my hands to prevent them from closing over my eyes. I knew if Mom saw she would look at me with disappointment and disgust.

The opening credits would roll on and the recap start. The recaps weren’t as bad because I had seen all of the scenes before; I knew what was going to happen. When the recap would end though, the dread would set in. Mom would occasionally try to pass me the popcorn, but with my hands underneath me I would shake my head quickly. I was frozen on my seat for an hour- one hour of pure agony. Each night after the closing credits I would quickly dash to my room where I would make a show of getting ready for bed. Every night without fail my mom would come into my room and kiss my forehead whispering, “I love our time watching together as a family.” I would reply with a nod that she took as consent and then she would go, closing the door behind her. I’d wait seventeen minutes, a number I knew from experience I could trust, and slip quietly from my bed. Grabbing the Nikon F6 from my bedside table, I would slip off my bed, into my boots, and out the window down the ivy-covered walls. Only outside in the 10 acres of backyard could I find my temporary peace.





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