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Sheila Take a Bow
Bravery, it comes in many forms.
Bravery on the battlefield, bravery beneath the lights, bravery in fighting, bravery in surviving.
Sometimes shooting a gun is easier than singing to a crowd. Sometimes giving in is easier than standing up.
The brave, those who have faced adversity and won, they are heroes.
Mounting the stage nightly the nerves never ceased to antagonize her. She gasped to fill her lungs with air. Beneath his gloved hands his palms stung, an empty clip weighed on his heavy heart. She clutched at her chest as he wiped at his brow. She closed her eyes and he unknowingly matched the movement. In that moment they were together again on that day in June when it all was okay. A grassy hill, a yellow dress, and the Smiths playing on an old battery powered tape player. That was how they spent their last night together. He promised her forever and he never lied.
Half a world away from each other, their love was no dimmer. A single golden string stretched 8,000 miles over land and sea to connect their hearts.
In a dank club somewhere on the Lower East Side she greeted the crowd with a modest hello and started into a song she had written about him. The tiny tug on his golden string made him smile, she was thinking about him. Her heart pulsed for him, that pulse kept him alive. She kept him alive.
Underneath those dusty lights her voice transcended music or lyrics. It was a call to the weary, it was a call to arms, it was a call to become more than just sixteen and sad, it screamed, and shook the walls, and at the end of her set an eruption took place. There was a ravenous applause it roared and licked at the stage like a fire hungry to be fed. She was it’s fuel, it begged for more and she simply smiled.
His plan of attack was to take his men in from the north, out of the cover of the hills, and into the camp below.
“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” He repeated the words of General Douglas Macarthur in his head whenever he could remember to. The words of his favorite General reminded him that he no choice but to strive for greatness. He lead his men into battle with the strength and tactical prowess of a man with twice his experience. They were devoted to him, he had never let them down. Through the desert they followed their fearless leader. The doors of straw huts were thrown open and valuable suspects were captured without the use of ammunition. Days like this were rare.
The mood in camp was jovial. Spirits were high. There were no bodies to be identified and no families to be notified. That night no one would mourn. It was a night to consume to copious amounts of imported liquor and to think about the beautiful women they had left behind. As the men drank they forgot that they were in a desert hell and remembered only their small towns in various parts of the country. They reminisced about forgotten loves and read letters that smelled of stale perfume. They talked about what’d they do with their lives when they got out. They looked ahead. He saw only her.
Her golden string tugged from under a cotton shirt alerting her to the fact that his heart was beating for her. She smiled and glanced over at the picture of him which rested on her bed side table, it was the last one she took before he buzzed his hair. She thought about how much she loved him and he too felt the tug on his golden string. Together they shared a singular moment of pleasure that no one but themselves could understand, an unexplainable sensation of love and harmony. Their hearts beat in sync, their souls were lit with a fire that only the other could tame. But why tame something so beautiful. Why extinguish love?