(It happened to me last night)
I was late, and that was all I knew. Not that my mother had reason to be worried anymore, no, I could very easily have found my way back home-thankfully, I was then not the same person I’d been earlier. But tonight was to be very different.
The road was long and hard, and as I walked along the pavement I thought only of a good meal and a good night’s sleep. But what awaited me would shock the very foundations of what I felt about my country.
I had never expected him to take me home.
The first three-wheeler I could find, small but not at all a rickety little thing. I do not remember what colour it was; maybe my mind sometimes pushed aside what I felt was irrelevant.
He was open to conversation, and not merely about something useless and commonplace.
Perhaps he sensed what I was on about.
Perhaps he knew that I was closed off to anything senseless like the words of his fellow drivers. His words poured out to me like an open book, and I read it all. Hatred for a government that did not recognize his, and his brother’s services. Or those of anyone who’d served alongside him in the hellish north.
He spoke of the enemy being mowed down, of civilians being taken to safety from their former posts as shields of flesh. And as he spoke, my heart ached for the horror he had to put himself through. To have his memory swept under history’s vast carpet by men who sat in rooms and debated on television. This was his reality. We all yearn for a chance at immortality. He probably did too, after his injury. His brother and he had been on the front lines when the monster met his bitter death.
The government, a powerful organization, had made their displays on wealth and fame to the common man. Turned them into fighting machines who loved their country. It was their Sri Lanka, the land worth fighting for, to rescue it from thirty years beneath the demon’s yoke.
I do not remember his eyes or his face, but I knew that within, he cried.
Like the true soldier he was, he did not show it.
Just the invisible tears running down the walls of his inner being.
He had wished for peace.
But not after thirty brutal years. The decades would probably become nothing more to our vast, evolving world, subtle as a passing nightmare from whence our Mother would awake. His story though, will live on within me. His nightmares still arc across his heart and soul as he sleeps. He will be immortal.