Posted on: September 5th, 2009 Soldier

by Maria Deira
He returns from the war mostly intact, the only noticeable change his inability to look me in the eyes. “Look at me,” I say when we make love. Instead, with his eyes shut tight and his lips pressed to mine, I’m the one who sees everything:
A pair of broken boots, dusty and frayed, mine but not mine. What I would give for a pair of clean socks right now, I think. Just imagining the snug fit of new cotton tube socks is enough to make me come again and again.
A young woman, skin the color of sand, leaning against the doorway of a crumbling house. Her hands curl into two little fists, round and tight. Impermeable walnut shells. “What’s your name?” I want to ask, but she stares past me, through me, with a hot silence that warns me to keep just as still.
A man resting his head against the steering wheel of a car. “Mornin’,” I say, and everything is peaceful until a warm breeze tosses back his hair, revealing a melted face, blistered and dead, greasy tentacles hollowing out his eyes. My nose bleeds, my saliva crystalizes, and all I can do is run away.
The last time we make love, we fuck. And I see myself sitting on a lawn chair, tanned legs neatly crossed, oversized sunglasses substituting as a headband. “You’ll be fine,” I say. “I’ll pray for you.” In my hands, I hold an orange, a miniature orb plucked from the sky. I take a strip of its dimpled rind, shield my front teeth with it, and flash the world a sunny, empty grin. I’m so calm, so vain, so naively cruel — as though the end of our world hasn’t already begun. Looking at myself then, I’ve never felt so scared.

by Maria Deira

He returns from the war mostly intact, the only noticeable change his inability to look me in the eyes. “Look at me,” I say when we make love. Instead, with his eyes shut tight and his lips pressed to mine, I’m the one who sees everything:

A pair of broken boots, dusty and frayed, mine but not mine. What I would give for a pair of clean socks right now, I think. Just imagining the snug fit of new cotton tube socks is enough to make me come again and again.

A young woman, skin the color of sand, leaning against the doorway of a crumbling house. Her hands curl into two little fists, round and tight. Impermeable walnut shells. “What’s your name?” I want to ask, but she stares past me, through me, with a hot silence that warns me to keep just as still.

A man resting his head against the steering wheel of a car. “Mornin’,” I say, and everything is peaceful until a warm breeze tosses back his hair, revealing a melted face, blistered and dead, greasy tentacles hollowing out his eyes. My nose bleeds, my saliva crystalizes, and all I can do is run away.

The last time we make love, we fuck. And I see myself sitting on a lawn chair, tanned legs neatly crossed, oversized sunglasses substituting as a headband. “You’ll be fine,” I say. “I’ll pray for you.” In my hands, I hold an orange, a miniature orb plucked from the sky. I take a strip of its dimpled rind, shield my front teeth with it, and flash the world a sunny, empty grin. I’m so calm, so vain, so naively cruel — as though the end of our world hasn’t already begun. Looking at myself then, I’ve never felt so scared.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

3 Responses to “Soldier”

  1. Maria Deira » Soldier! Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    [...] flash fic piece “Soldier” is up at Brain Harvest. It’s short and [...]

  2. Maria Deira » Soldier! Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    [...] flash fic piece “Soldier” is up at Brain Harvest. It’s short and [...]

  3. Laurie Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Damn, but this is a vicious story. Love it. Thanks, Maria Deira. You frighten me a little with your insight and biting attack on the mind.

  4. Laurie Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Damn, but this is a vicious story. Love it. Thanks, Maria Deira. You frighten me a little with your insight and biting attack on the mind.

  5. Rachel Green Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 12:34 am

    What an excellent piece.

  6. Rachel Green Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 12:34 am

    What an excellent piece.