Traumatophobia

October 31, 2011
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Sitting in the old wooden chair next to the window sill, hands folded, face down. A fearful look overcomes his eyes, which gaze emptily at the floor.
He thinks to himself “I’m just a kid. I can’t do this. I can’t.”
Tears start to form in his eyes. He wipes them away before they can trickle down his face and show a sign of weakness.
His mind becomes blank again. He stares at the draft notice on the floor below him. Hating to look at it, to believe in it, he rubs his hands over his face hoping that this will wake him up from his current nightmare. But the pain doesn’t go away. The anxiety remains. The fearfulness lingers.
He stares out of the window, longing to see something hopeful outside. The sunset, consisting of a myriad of shades of oranges and pinks, doesn’t please him like it would have yesterday. The bright, happy colors mock him in his current state of depression, driving him to close the blinds and turn away from the window.
The slight breeze brought about by the closing of the blinds causes the draft notice to glide across the floor, staring right back at the draftee from below his feet.
“Could I make it to Canada? Would people look for me if I went there? Would I be called a coward?”
More questions with no answers.
“Should I just stay and be a man, like all the other guys? What if I lose a limb? No one would ever treat me the same after that. Would I die? Would people remember me? Would I be honored or forgotten?”
No one was with him to answer these questions. But would anyone really understand? Any “normal” person would say that the respectable thing would be to go fight for your country, but anyone who lives for survival would say run away and don’t risk it.
A wave of frustration overcame him enough that he got up and punched a wall, as if it was threatening to kill him. So many more emotions went through him that he almost fainted from confusion. He held onto the desk in front of him for support. He stared down at the draft notice that was situated on the floor to his right.
He wanted to rip it up, to tear it to shreds, to stab it, to do anything that would destroy it. But no matter what, that draft notice seemed undefeatable in his eyes. No matter what he did, it would never die. Physically destroying that piece of paper would never make it go away. Its threat would always be there.
He leaned back on the desk and breathed heavily, thinking deeply.
He stated slowly out loud “I know what I have to do.”
He opened the window abruptly and picked up the draft notice, which felt like it weighed a hundred pounds. He reached for the box of matches across the desk and lit one. Breathing heavily, he put the live match on the corner of the draft. He watched it go up in flames right before his eyes and then threw it out the window. After closing the window, he ran out of the room, never to return again.





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