Tag Archives: experience

My Grandfather Knew Why We Run from the Dark

I always admired my grandfather’s courage. He had fought in the war on what we nowadays think of as the wrong side, but he had never been a believer in the cause. Sometimes a rifle is pressed in your hand and your choice is either to fire and worry about being shot from the front, or not to fire and be sure that you’ll be shot from behind.

He was young when he was drafted, barely 16. Before he left he gave his first kiss and a promise to a girl. She waited five years until the end of the war, surviving on just five or six letters that she kept as treasure.

The war ended but even the defeat was celebrated. Not openly, but in the hearts and eyes of the people. People never wage war, it is politicians that wage war. No soldier that ever stood in the line of a rifle believes that war is heroic, only those divorced from reality, those that sit in tidy offices, those dream of war.

Soldiers came home with thin bodies and bandaged limbs. They hugged their wives and women before they fell onto beds and relived the front in dreams that made them toss and turn and wake up from their own screams.

His girl watched with tears in her eyes while her sister and mother each welcomed their men home. She heard the men scream at night and each scream lodged a stone in her throat. She prayed that the man she had kissed did not have to scream and then she prayed that the man she had kissed was alive enough to scream. Then she prayed for forgiveness for her selfishness. Continue reading

Floor 5

“You’re single?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “But hopefully not for too long.”

“That’s good,” he said. “Not that I mind, you know. But women smell too much.”

“Oh, I always thought men are more dirty.”

“Well, he said. “It all depends on your sense of smell.”

The apartment was large and sunny, solid wooden floors, a lift and large windows that I would soon grow to hate. In every respect a bargain.

“The only thing,” he said. “Is that you can’t use the stairs. They were too dangerous and we had to block them. So you have to take the lift and in case of a fire there is an emergency ladder that goes right to your bedroom window.”

“Five floors on a ladder?”

“Well,” he said. “You look pretty strong. I’m sure you can handle that.” Continue reading

For the love of god please stay inside

I don’t know how to warn anybody else, but please believe me: If you are in a big city on the east coast please stay inside and barricade your door and windows.

Today is one of those nights where I’m incredibly happy that our block of flats is surrounded by a large spiked metal fence, but if you don’t have that please NOW go and block your windows and doors. Our fence is pretty strong and we have a security guard, so our front door is only glass, but you can’t believe how happy I was when it shut behind me.

Lachlan the security guard gave me nearly a heart attack when I came in; he always comes around the corner with this huge grin. But this is not about Lachlan; it’s about the guy on the street that scared me to death. Continue reading