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Give Me My Wings
Give Me My Wings
I sat up so unbelievably fast that the world was spinning. Actually, it was spinning. Or I was. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m awake. Now. And I’m here. Now.
Where is Here?
A loud, prolonged roar had pierced my ears. It rumbled under my legs, and when I looked up, blearily, the sky was on fire. I managed to get on my knees, but before progressing to stand, another boom resounded, this one much closer, and I was completely thrown off my balance, crashing into the wet soil and rocks. Sounds became instantly muffled, and it seemed the only thing I could hear was a pitched scream in my head.
Things seemed to go in slow motion. There was running everywhere, but in no particular direction. These people were panicking as shards rained down on them from the skies. It was chaos. Total havoc. The young and old knocked each other over as they tried to run. Where? I don’t believe even they knew.
There was another explosion behind me, and suddenly I was brought into focus. My breathing was short and quick, and something in my chest ached. Panicked, I crawled away from the burning flames. From the burning people. Every time I put my hand down there was a stinging pain. Blood oozed from my palms down my arms, and I winced at the throbbing in my pulse, the deep color scarlet staining me for the first time. My head hurt too much to perceive what was happening. All I knew now was that I was mindlessly running with the others in a mad dash.
Planes were raiding bombs down on the civilians. They were defenseless, unprepared none the less, for such an attack. It was raining bullets everywhere, but we couldn’t see them. They were so small and so fast—impossible to dodge. By the time you could tell, it was buried in your chest, in your arms and legs. But there was not much to go on after that. You were lying on the ground, bleeding, dead.
Some of the palm trees cracked under heavy fire as I raced passed them. I couldn’t tell if I were hit or not, if I were still running or just seeing everything else rush by me in a blur. People were jumping over the fallen debris and avoiding, somehow, the constant chance of death. But every second, someone had fallen. Someone was crying. Someone was dying.
It occurred to me then this I might be experiencing death. I was not used to the idea, as it had not spent time to settle in my mind yet.
Then I heard the most pitiful sound my ears could come upon. It belonged to that of a small child, no doubt, and I was drawn to stop its suffering. I could not bear that sound any longer. I stopped running because of this.
A boy was screaming on his knees. He was hardly a kid but a small child so frail, tiny, and frightened. He choked out the words “Help! Help my mommy!” as he stifled tears. Much of the sounds he made were pants, whimpers, and they were all together hard to listen to.
I approached him from behind the grand fountain he was taking refuge behind. It was hardly a cover up, and even so he was altogether very exposed in his position. Perhaps he had fallen to this place. Nonetheless, this barrier has been keeping him alive for all these moments now. It has been a miracle that he’s still breathing. There was a streak of bullets that pelted the water, so I ducked behind the stone wall as the small basin crumbled in with a heavy thonk, shattering the fountain’s center piece entirely. The boy, however, took no notice of this as he continued to cry out. He was crouched over a body. The body was bleeding badly in the abdomen with legs pointed out in unusual directions, sprawled out, unnaturally still, against the pavement. It was a young woman with perfectly curled hair the color of deep bronze, her rose red lips parted just barely, whose eyes were gazing into the sky. They weren’t filled with terror, as I would imagine to stare at the horrendous sight above. They were blank. Her head was propped up under the child’s knee. Her skin was pale against the lovely, causal, flowing sundress she wore. On any day, this would have been a fancy eye catcher to stride along the beaches and feel carefree upon nature and beauty. Today, she was unfit.
But when I look at the dead woman, I do not know her. I know that like many other before her this day and many right now are dead. She is no longer here. I know this. What I know cannot change things, though. She is gone now. This is just a vessel. Useless. And we must honor that.
Without thinking, I scooped the child up, rather effortlessly, into my arms, and set off at a jog, all the while the child screaming behind my ear into the direction of his fallen mother.
I dared my eyes to steal a glance above. The planes zoomed by. I don’t think they are concentrating much on us. They’re direction was angled farther away from us, close to sea. Ahead, I saw the harbor—crowded with ships—and the fire that engulfed them. It was beyond describable the amount of damage the bombs were inflicting on the ships, torpedoing down and slipping into the hull, sending a break of fireworks from the base and it exploded up, splintering the battleship into two whole pieces and sending the remains down in the water. There were men on those ships, thousands of sailors, who were dying. They’re guns were useless against the planes firepower. They were practically defenseless as much as we were.
I couldn’t believe this was happening.
Why am I witnessing this? How shall you have put me here? To what end, what purpose, leaving me with nothing to do, weak and useless, stripping me the ability to act? How would you render my presence here now? I do not need to see this.
I wish there was a way to give me my wings so that I may fly, fly far and high and ask of something. Ask why He would choose this.
If there were a response, I could not hear it over the echoes of explosions and screams. I could not feel more alone.
I carried the boy farther from the open area and into the shaded parts of the trees. “Hospital! To the hospital!” a man was shouting, directing people with his arms waving left. Waves of people were flooding into the building, so I followed, careful to cover the boy with my own body if a bullet were to jump us. By the time I had reached the door, the hospital man was silent, nowhere to be found waving his arms to direct the hurt. He had fallen too.
I had hoped the healers’ area would be less horrendous then outside at the very least, but it was opposite. There was hardly any space to breathe in here with people hurrying by, some holding others, as they screamed over top one another. So I set the troubled boy down. He had grown quiet now, holding his hand to his mouth, eyes wide. If there were something I knew I could do to help his worry, I would. But I am just useless. Much like most of the doctors are useless to their overwhelming plethora of patients. It is more than they can handle.
The boy held on to my hand tightly.
There was nothing in my power to clear his mind, but there was one thing he could to on his own. I knelt in front of him, clearing my mind of the scene behind me. I know how hard it would be for him to do so, so I gently rubbed his chubby cheek with my thumb, easing his eyes to mine. They were a beautiful opal color. Pray with me, I whispered in my mind. I knew he had heard me because the next moment, out hands were folded. His eyes closed.
I could feel his thoughts flow through me like a pure river. They were beautiful, like his spirit, and I adored the young human’s nature for this. He opened his eyes again, the brilliant blue staring back at me, and I smiled to him. You will be all right, I told him. He nodded willfully. I kissed his forehead and released from his tiny grip. He will watch over you forever. They all will.
And with that silent promise that only he could hear, I left the child in the hospital’s care.
I was outside again, and this time I was looking for those calling out. No matter how useless I am now, I was still carrying out my mission placed upon me since existence.
It was, in fact, a Sunday now that I think about it. This was a day of rest, and how cleverly the attackers planned it that way, so done, unexpectedly, to catch them off guard. They would not have thought, of all days, for it to happen today.
Every time someone fell, I felt it. The pain was silent. Physically, I was hurting, but what was going on in their mind moments before their death channeled into me. I could feel it all. And the power of knowledge was something I did not want any longer. There are certain things I could do without knowing.
I was very close to the edge of the harbor. The water rippled violently against the rocks as things from afar came crashing into the bay. Some of the ships had completely sunk by now. One that was close was top siding, and the view was horrible. The ship was turning on its side, slowly, and it tilted more and more. The stern popped out of the water and the deck dipped in. The men on there was giving in, falling into the cold water with a splash. They were swimming furiously, but without any success to get away from the ship, they were dragged back and unable to escape the collapsing vessel.
Their minds were teeming with dread for me to hear them. I knew some couldn’t even swim. How unpleasant of this situation to come that they would not have even considered yesterday of the necessity of the skill to simply know how to paddle your arms and legs would be the difference between life and death now. How no one knew today was the end of their existence on Earth.
What went on in their mind was simply this: I will die on this ship. I will die in the water. I cannot swim; there is nothing here for me to fight them with. A frightful glance in the sky triggered warning far too late. One had muttered, I can’t believe it is here. The War is actually here. Another sailor’s last thought he was thinking before passing from his wounds, staring in the cloudless sky and watching the planes zip by with a red dot painted on it was, Zeroes. Zeroes everywhere. That ship had shot up as a torpedo blasted inside. Little did they realize that this was actually their final burial place—the bottom of a ship, trapped even for years later under the water of Pearl Harbor.
If I had been, at that moment, aware of the events to follow the next four years, I may not know if this was a miracle. This day meant the difference for almost all countries at a standstill at this point in history.
Across the sea, only days before the attack, the Axis Powers were winning World War II. Britain was the last defensive of the Allied Powers. Yet, the United States remained neutral. Many favored isolationism, and now that I see it, I understand why. They were spilt, however, about how to aid, if even to aid, the British. Despite growing tensions with America’s prevalence against Germany, it was the Japanese that brought them into the war.
But today changed everything. Their leader, confined to a wheelchair thousands of miles away when hearing the news of today, was incredulous, as much of the nation was in a state of shock as well. I don’t believe they knew the statistics yet, but I knew. I felt it. 2,403 souls were lost that day in Hawaii. I don’t know if this is considered a sacrifice, since it was done without their knowledge. I don’t know how He plans these things. But He took his side, even in their affairs, and set it up so that the result was what it should be. Years later, His wager was right, and the Allies won. All because of the United States. Their involvement was much greater than anticipated, and without all that happened, this world would be very different. The way humanity works very much puzzles me. I know that what I could have done was not to be intended.
I did not get my wings that day, nor did I even for a long while after then. I finally understood why, though, and it took me till the end of the century to figure that out. You see, maybe I wasn’t praying for my wings. In the long run, it was a very large collection of people who rose together out of their rage for justice to enter a long, brutal war. But they had done it because the strike on Pearl Harbor wasn’t going to without a hitch.
“I fear we have awaken a sleeping giant.”
Indeed, this Japanese general was right. The wings were delivered after that day. I remember a furious nation accepting their president’s declaration of war on a Monday. I returned Home, and though my experience was widely known as a past, I always hear these words:
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy…”