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Our's to See : A Short Story By Andy Domonkos

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Author Topic: Our's to See : A Short Story By Andy Domonkos  (Read 141 times)

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« on: September 09, 2012, 03:01:23 pm »

“A bit green, with bits of purple,” Daniel said at his father’s feet in the grass.


“Very big.” The boy replied.

“Sounded so.”

People all around were stretched out in the field; a rhythm of popping came from cans of beer. And the air was scented with the smell of charcoal.

“Orangish, like—" Daniel paused to chose the best description.

“And like a flower, like its entire life from being a seed to dying.”

Sam grinned at that one. In the past months his boy had become a miniature Dickens.

“Do you like them?” He was running a hand over the cooler next to him, searching for the groove.

“They’re OK, nothing special.”

His father mussed his hair and was now searching for the bug spray, which Daniel handed up to him, “here.”

“I don’t know who eats better on the 4th, us, or the mosquitoes.”

He then added, “It’s OK for you to like the fireworks Danny, I don’t want you punishing yourself for me.” He tried to find the words—he was most certainly no Dickens—and added, “Enjoy it all.”

 Since his Dad got back two months back, after a very long time in a field hospital in Germany, Daniel tried to walk a very fine line. He tried to be as soldierly as he knew how. He kept his answers short and to the point. He tried not to be emotional or silly. He tried his best to describe things to his father, who had lost his eyes, part of his nose, and most of his left hand to an IED outside of Falluja. At the same time he tried to sound unimpressed with what he saw while he gave these descriptions. It was his way of being humble and respectful. Everything was OK or alright, and absolutely nothing was beautiful.

His mother had fell to pieces over the phone on hearing the news.  She saw a doctor, and he promptly granted her access to a rainbow of pills, but she gained no composure from this, rather she became lazy and ineffectual to the world, and instead of full sobs her miserable state was personified by a permanent frown.   She would sleep in the day and cry softly at night, and during this time so much of Daniel's childhood was shed to make room for the daunting weight of responsibility. For all these reasons, Daniel saw the bomb as something beyond fire and force.  It had ripped apart his father with its blast, the shock waves had shattered his mother's nerves, and finally, the fallout had mutated Daniel into an adult.  The entirety of the bomb's design had been nothing short of devious. 

When his father came home, he stood in the doorway and stared past Daniel and his mother.  He stood there as a visage of war, in spots his face gleamed like melted plastic.  His mother went to embrace him but hesitated, with a worried look on her face that he might fall apart if she did.  So instead she led him gingerly by his good hand, setting him at the couch before she shuffled slowly up the stairs to cry and panic.   

His father had taken notice of his son's new grim outlook. In fact, with his vision gone, and his life now consisting mostly of peace and calm, he seemed more aware of people then ever before. He could notice subtle tones in people's voices that would give away their true meaning.  All around him he felt the tension he had grown so use to at war, and often he thought of how different life would be had it not been for that parting blow of the bomb. 


“Now that one has to be big.”

All around people “ooh’d and ahh’d.”

“Yeah, it was. Blue and red.”

“This your dad?” Someone asked.

Sam heard his boy say yes and waited again.

“I’m James, just wanted to say thank you sir.”

Sam felt around in the air and found his handshake.

“Sam Carter, and you're welcome.” The man had a barely noticeable row of calluses on his hand, and Sam guessed him to be 25 at least.

“Your Dad’s a brave man.” Said the man.

“OK” Said Daniel, slightly perturbed by the exchange, and then in a few seconds, “he’s gone now.”

“Nice kid.”

Pop, pop, pop!

“Just little silver ones, like diamonds.”

Sam laughed a bit.
 ”That one’s a dead ringer for an M-16”

Daniel took a deep breath and asked a question that had kept him up almost every night since April.

“What color was the bomb?”

The bomb of course was the IED. The last thing Sam had seen.

Sam sipped his beer and thought for a few seconds.

“Well, white mostly. Like a camera flash. But I do remember some green. It was afterwards I saw colors. Every color of the spectrum, exploding furiously. It lasted for what I thought was a very long time, but the doctors told me it was something that couldn’t be counted in seconds. Kinda like a dream. They say the longest a dream can last is a few minutes before your mind starts in on something else. Even if it feels like years.” He paused and analyzed what he had just said.

“That was the last good fireworks I saw.”

They sat in silence for a moment.  Daniel began to say something but his father cut him off.

"When I was over there, it felt like the entire country was built on an eggshell.  One wrong step and you could fall all the way to hell, and it made some superstitious and others crazy. That, and it was so hot sometimes you had to check to make sure you weren't on fire."

"With all that fear and heat the only way I  kept sane was thinking of you and your mom."

Daniel turned the conversation in the direction he wanted, "But those men?  Don't you hate them?"

"Those men did a horrible thing to me, but that is what war is, men doing horrible things to eachother and by proxy doing horrible things to the women and children who love them.  There is no dignified way to blow some one up.  You drop it from a plane or you leave it on the side of the road or you throw it in combat.  It all has the same effect.  We had our orders and they hard theirs, que sera as your grandmother used to say. But yes, I was mad at them, that's natural.  But I had used up enough energy being pissed off.  I did my duty, and wanted just to be happy for while.  There are plenty of men out there who get riled up everyday until they die, and to me that's the worst handicap of all, blind to all the good things in life."

Daniel held back the tears, now having the greatest of difficulty in finding the right words.  He went to speak, but before he could the sky erupted with activity.

The finale had started and suddenly the explosions were very rapid and the people in the park were cheering on the chaos in the sky.

Daniel watched and he could not attach mediocrity to the scene. A salvo of color had been emptied into the sky, each burst overlapping the last, and lighting up the faces of everyone who watched. It was a force of light and sound that diminished him and made emotions swirl inside his chest. In his mind, hope and beauty rose and blossomed with the same glorious pulses of the fireworks. His Father rested a hand on his shoulder, smiling.

“What do you see?”
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