In Every Life

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In every life, we make pilgrimage to one thing, one common destination we share; our own death. How we get there, where we start, and everything else in between bears no difference to the higher powers that choose our story. But in every life, it is the individual who is left to judge what is important and what is irrelevant. This story is not to teach, analyze, preach, organize, or tell events that have occurred or will occur. It is not a story of common human interest or a story of interest at all. This is a story of what an individual lifespan pertains as important, and that is all.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
-Lao Tzu

The air was crisp and cool. The wind blew strong, and would have been chilly if not for the strong rays of sun beating down upon the ground. The sky was baby blue and mottled with cumulus clouds, a sky that wasn’t quite spring, but not yet summer. Green grass rippled on the distant hills, and the birds chirped over the scarce seed left on a feeder. White day-lilies danced in the wind, making the bees work hard to collect their sweet nectar for the queen. Hummingbirds flew back and forth around the feeder, nervously drinking their prepared beverage. The tall oak trees painted shade for a small rabbit, and provided shelter for a quick squirrel. The pang of the wind chimes stirred Raya from her dream-like state, and she squinted at the bright sun. Sitting up, she stretched her limbs, and stood, examining the garden with scrutiny.

“A beautiful morning…” She noted, nonchalant.
She picked up her book and walked into the house. Raya greeted her mother and younger sister before going into her room to write in her journal. She saw her father from the window working on his beat up old truck, and heard the buzzing of her neighbor’s lawnmower in the distance.
A puzzled look crossed Raya’s face before as she heard a whistling noise pervade the air. She walked into the kitchen; the tea kettle wasn’t the source. Her mother was studying in the living room for her college classes, and took no notice. Her younger sister was watching television in her room. Her father walked in, perhaps not having noticed the noise, and went into the bathroom to clean up. All of this had transpired in less than a minute, and as Raya walked back into her room and sat on the bed, it occurred to her that she might look out her bedroom window. The bomb whistling through the air hit a distant field too quickly for the noise of alarm Raya made to alert her family.
When Raya regained consciousness, her ears rang from the explosion. She stood up and examined her body for injuries. She was covered in bruises, and cut by shards of her window, but otherwise unharmed. Coughing, Raya realized that the house reeked of smoke. She ran into the living room and found her mother on the floor. Something had hit her on the head and she was bleeding, but Raya dragged her through the front door. The house was burning. Next, Raya looked for her sister, but couldn’t find her. She screamed her name, but got no response. As she searched, she discovered the impact of the bomb had killed her father. Her fingers were shaking as she reached to her face and found that tears flowed freely down her cheeks. Running from the rapidly blazing dwelling, she saw her mother standing in the lawn.

“Mama!” Raya ran to her mother and gave her a hug, sobbing, all reserve within her finally breaking.

“Raya…! Where’s your father? Where’s your sister?!”

“Oh mama…. Daddy’s dead, mama… I couldn’t find sissy either… I screamed so loud, but she never came.” Raya’s mother hugged her tightly and faced the inevitable fact, that her youngest daughter was probably dead too. Her grieving process was cut short, however when they both heard an agonizing scream from the home.

“She’s still in there.” Raya’s arms dropped to her sides and she froze. Her mother ran to the door, screaming her daughter’s name. The fire just kept consuming the building faster and faster, and Raya could only watch as the roof caved in to turn her home into a flaming mass of rubble. Everything was silent for a moment, and then the screaming began. Her mother’s screams followed by her sister’s wails. Raya was so scared, the fire was too intense for her to approach; she sobbed as she stood frozen, forced to listen to her mother and sister burn to death.
She took a step, another step, and another until she reached the garden. There, the scene was no better. The day lilies and irises were charred or crushed. The birds and insects were all gone. The trees danced with flames in the distance. The young rabbit lay dead on the ground. All around her, life was taken. The sky was dark with smoke and buzzed with the sound of planes that dropped more bombs far away. In an instant everything Raya ever knew was taken away, and as a follow-up bomb was dropped on her home all that she had left, her life, was taken as well.

“In each action we must look beyond the action at our past, present and future state, and at others whom it affects, and see the relation of all those things. And then we shall be very cautious.”
- Blaise Pascal

At 1:02 P.M. General Mark E. Patton was faced with a decision. A neighboring country had bombed his country’s capital and killed well over 14,000 people. If Patton did not retaliate, he risked countless civilian deaths, and if he did act, he risked war. The neighboring country threatened them with nuclear weapons, and his only option was to take them out. In two minutes, he had made his call and sent out orders. In a secluded portion of the country, where the nuclear weapons were rumored to be held, General Mark E. Patton dropped several bombs.

At 1:27 P.M. A bomb was dropped under Patton’s orders that destroyed Raya’s home.

At 1:37 P.M. a follow-up bomb was dropped that killed Raya, a girl of 15 years who never experienced the joys of love, opportunity, or freedom. Instead she was killed by the hands of justified war, and it’s often forgot side-effects.


“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”
-Ernest Hemingway





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