Thursday, July 5, 2007

In The Eyes of A Child

This was my entry for the July Blog Exchange... I know some folks get bothered by the exchange and therefore don't bother to read some of the posts, so I'll let you read it here. This month's: "In the Eyes of My Child" (or, "In The Eyes of A Child)


It is late at night, and I can hear men shouting... I wish they would stop but it seems to go on and on. The men are yelling at my father, they want to come and use our house. My father said no, because he is responsible for the protection of all of the children. The men got angry, but they went away, and quiet returned. My father is a strong man and he keeps us safe. All of the grownups seem nervous.

I don't understand.

During the day, our house is very hot, so we spend our time outside. Papa says to stay close to the house, and we younger children are always under the eyes of my father, or, when he is meeting with the green men, by one of our uncles, or the men papa hires to guard our house. I don't like the green men, because they wear strange clothes, and speak in a strange way.

I don't understand.

At night, the shouting returns... this goes on almost every night, and every day for a week, men shouting and threatening my father in the dark of the night, and the green men asking my father questions in the hot light of day.

I don't understand.

One day, the green men took my father away... there was much shouting in the village, because the people don't want my father to leave... my father is the local Mayor. Why did they taking him?

I don't understand.

When the men come that night, they forced my uncle to let them into our house, and the other houses in the village. The next day the men in our houses fought the green men. There were explosions, men screaming, and lots of noise and dust. I hid under a table. When it was over, I went and looked for my mother... she was dead. We screamed and cried... later the green men brought my father home.

I'm afraid... and I don't understand.

That night, the men came back to our house... but they didn't shout. They killed my father's men and one of my father's brothers. Then, they killed my father... all while I watched.

After the funerals, I asked my uncles why my parents were dead. My eldest Uncle, our new Mayor (in my village we call him "Sheik" instead of Mayor) answered me by shrugging his shoulders and saying: "This is war, my sweet" I asked him who we were fighting, and he thought about it for a moment, then looked at me and said: "Everyone".

I am only eight... and I am not sure of what "war" really means, but I know enough. War is loud, war is terrifying, war means fear, war means death.

I'm an orphan because of "war"... So are all of the other children in our house.

I don't understand war, but I know that I don't like it.


Yes, the end is modified... I mistakenly sent the first draft, but was too late to re-submit.


Lawyer Mama said...

Holy cow, Bill. You really socked me in the gut with that one.

That was a very moving piece of writing. And I'm sure, unfortunately, very realistic.

Fourier Analyst said...

Jeez GF! Is this auto-biographical? (Gulp!) If so it sure gives a different perspective on you. I just thought you were an ordinary kilt-wearing crazy, and didn't realise you had justification for being so! Seriously, this was a very moving piece and I wonder if you might consider publishing it for a wider audience? Like on glossy paper for the technically challenged? It seems a waste to limit it to the word-of-link blogsphere.

Gunfighter said...

Actually, it isn't autobiographical. It is fictional.

The idea of the blog exchange is a writing excercise, usually targeted at parents...

Many of the people that wrote this month wrote about the perspective from a child's eyes, their own children's eyes. I decided to write from the perspective of a child who could be living in any number of places around the world right now.

For most of us, reading this, the world is a rather safe place. I thought I would give a little poke as a reminder, that some children live in horror.

NotNancySinatra said...

Wow. This hit my in the gut! Truly a beautifully written piece. I really got the sense of the child's perspective. Really amazing!

Gunfighter said...

Thank you and welcome, NotNancy!

Zanne said...

That was wrenching! no words...