Whatever happens, know that once, I cared.
I really did.
It happened so slowly.
I thought I hated you.
Or rather, I thought I was ambivalent.
You were to have no role in my life.
And then you were called away.
Called to fight.
Your life was on the line.
And I realised that I did care.
I realised I care because you care for me with your every action.
That your life itself is one large act of caring,
That your life is at risk so that mine may be secure.
Even though you don't know me.
Even though you have never seen me,
and I now see you only as a crowd, pixelated faces on a video published from the front lines,
or rather, just behind them.
Where I wish you would be safe.
Where I pray you will be safe.
Which you must leave in order to make us all safe.
And I just want you to know, whatever happens,
This is not in vain.
None of us will ever be the same.
But we can live with that.
Because we care.
Because we live.
I'll be here.
And so will we all.
And so will you.
And so I say,
"What are you going to do today?"
"I'm hungover... I don't know." I shrugged into the phone on my shoulder. "Whatever."
"Alright. Maybe I'll see you out later. Peace."
I hung up and immediately my cell phone rang again. Unknown number, third time this morning. It was probably somebod(more)y who wanted money that I owed them. Thanks for the education, guys, but it looks like you gambled and lost. Go find your money somewhere else.
I poured a bowl of cereal, went to the 'fridge, and pulled out an empty carton. Typical. Just fucking great. How the f--
There was a knock on the door, but it was merely perfunctory; four people- three men and a woman- flung the door open and filed inside. The men went to separate parts of my tiny house and the woman stayed in the kitchen with me. I stood in front of her in my bathrobe, holding an empty milk carton and worrying about the weed that was on my nightstand.
"What the hell? We've been calling you all morning!" She grabbed my cell phone and shoved it my face. "You're in. You're up. It's you. Let's go."
"I... but..." I demanded.
The men came back into the kitchen empty-handed. The woman stopped gesturing at me and started gesturing at them. "You're supposed to get his clothes, get him packed. What the hell?"
All three kept a neutral expression as one said, "No clothes worth taking, ma'am."
"Oh ho!" she said, slugging me on the shoulder. "Of course there aren't! This whole shithole could burn down and no one would care! Nice job. Come with me now." As she pulled me toward the door she said to the men over her shoulder, "Burn it."
That's the thing about doing whatever: sometimes, whatever happens. (less)
They were lying, if one were to take it literally. But the sentiment was true, and he was grateful to them for it.
(more) Well, it was a little unfair--and a little too outlandish--to call them a liar. They were there, after all, when they needed them the most. When they needed them for the last time.
They were just a little late.
He couldn't be mad for that--the number of times he'd made them wait for appointments and dates was almost his trademark.
They were only a little late. Just a little bit. He could see them as he fell back, run through with the beautiful zweihander, taking the leap from the cliff down to them and his attacker.
He heard his name from their lips, and he couldn't help but smirk reflexively.
The night sky became awash with their divine white light, and he could hear their voice even as they continued on the offense, bent on avenging his defeat... his demise.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"I'll try..." He was starting to go numb.
"I can save you. I will save you...!" He rarely heard urgency in their voice.