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The Unthinkable

The wet grass tickled my feet as I thrashed my way to the edge of my yard. The gentle glow of the moon reflected off the tears streaming down my face. A hole ripped through my heart and my gut wrenched as the reality of what had happened sunk in. I couldn't think straight. My head was whirling and I felt strangely unbalanced. I tripped over a gnarled tree root and lay on the ground, sobbing silently. All had been going well on a typical Thursday night. I was trudging through my homework as usual, as my parents lounged watching the news. The sharp sounds of the doorbell and my father's cry of, "Who in the world is ringing our doorbell at eight o'clock?" temporarily penetrated our bubble of perfect happiness, but what we were about to hear would forever leave a gaping hole in our hearts and lives.
I had been sent to answer the door and I stifled a gasp as my eyes fell on the solider standing on our front porch. My heart skipped a beat and my mouth felt as dry as sandpaper. My voice came out slightly strangled as I turned to call my parents in, "Mom, dad, I think you should come here."
I was on the verge of tears. Soldiers never came to a civilians house. They only came if a solider in your family was hurt, or killed. I squeezed my eyes tight and prayed that my brother was not dead.
Apparently, God was busy, because the news delivered to us by the solider pierced my soul.
"I am sorry to inform you that Warrant Officer William Warnick Dodson Jr. was killed by a missile shot by an enemy aircraft. His body will be delivered as soon as possible." Without another word, he turned on his heel and left.
For a moment we just stood there, shocked and devastated. But after what felt like hours my mother's sobs broke the heavy silence. It seemed as if time was fast forwarding, I don't remember sprinting from the house through the open door, or the pound of asphalt as I raced from the scene. When I finally stopped, my chest heaving and my hair flying, I felt a weight of despair settle on my thin shoulders.
It felt unreal, unthinkable. My brother, who had been there when I fell and skinned my knees, who tormented my constantly, who gave me a bowl of ice cream for lunch, he was gone. I couldn't wrap my head around it. How could the person who had so much love, and so much laughter, be gone?
I stood up and brushed the wet grass clinging to me to the ground. I took a shaky breath, and started my way on legs of jello back around the house. As I passed by our green Subaru, our "My son is in the U.S.A. army" gleamed in the soft light from our kitchen window. Something in me snapped, and I ran at it howling in pain and anguish. I scraped my nails along the side of the car making gouges and ripping off bits of the sticker. When I finally became too exhausted to do anymore, I slid to the ground as my nails leaked tears of blood.
I wrapped my arms around my legs and curled up into a ball on the ground. As I closed my eyes an object dug into my thigh. I sat up, confused, and reached into my jeans pocket. I pulled out a silver guitar pick. The gift Nick had given me along with his old electric guitar. A smile tugged at my lips a sense of something close to happiness filled my heart.




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