To Tear A Stone
Author's note: I wrote this because I felt like I had to. I felt powerless against war, as though I could do... Show full author's note »
Men Are WeakA quiet mumble floats with the cigar smoke above the dinner party. It lingers with the smell of good food and perfume. The general sits behind a banquet table, wearing his uniform and smiling at his guests. The officer sits by the side of the general, silent and watchful.
“Men are weak and frail creatures. They need too much. You would think the men at the front to be the frailest of aristocrats. Real men would be able to live on bread and water, real men would take what they’re given and be happy. In the army men are treated like men.” Says the general to the people near him. People do not speak to the general; the general speaks to people. Everything he says is a speech. The general fills his fat belly with fine foods. Around his mouth is a circle of grease, it mixes with his moustache and shines off his lips. He pours food down his gullet, hardly chewing before he swallows.
“Men are cowards. They are afraid of death, when they should not be. For to die for your country is a great honour, yet I have men running from the front in all directions. They do not understand, that to win a war requires sacrifice, courage and obedience. If the men at the front were real men, they would not run away in the face of death. If the men at the front were real men, they would march into battle with their heads held high, ready to fight and die.” The general pauses to pour wine down his gullet; he does so with large, long gulps. As though he has not drank for ages. He belches and makes a noise like a fat old toad before beginning again “This is a cowardly country we live in. A cowardly country I say! Look at what I do, look at my sacrifice for our great cause. I work everyday; I put on my uniform and am proud. My work is my life. Do I ask for credit? No! Those silly young cowards at the front want awards for all that they do! Oh! How it disgusts me!”
Next to the officer quivers the general’s daughter. She continuously watches the officer; afraid constantly that he will see how she watches him. He has noticed, but he does not care. The girl that quivers next to him is as uninteresting as a leaf on the street. Women are, generally, completely uninteresting to him. Most women are in love with his uniform rather then him. Although the officer is very confident, he knows his worth. He has one constant craving. He wants to be loved. More then he wants to be a general, he wants genuine love. Not from a lonely, silly girl full of romance novels and false idols; but from a girl who has seen life and has thought for herself.
Next to the officer the general’s daughter stares at the officer. She knows her love is not returned, and she knows that it never will be. Yet still she holds happiness within her, happiness because of the fact people like the officer exist. It is enough for her, to exist by him. Love is like snow, she thinks. Snow is weak and fleeting, it melts when it touches the skin, and only lasts though winter. Yet snow can silence a city as it falls, it muffles everything and changes the world into a white washed, quiet and different place.
Across the room the general’s wife watches on in disgust. She cannot believe that the simpering, whimpering girl across the table is from her. It disgusts her that the general’s daughter just sits there, watching the officer with fluttering eyelashes and a constant little smile about her lips. The general’s wife is forever unhappy. She is wearing uncomfortable clothes and shoes that hurt her feet. She is forever looking in the mirror, finding problems with her face. The general’s wife is lonely and bored. She feels trapped within the walls of her own house, as though in a prison.