Soldier - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
On the nights when he was with her; when she would stay awake waiting for the inevitable. Just waiting for his terrified eyes to meet hers, waiting for him to mutter about guns and friends departed. She would trace the faint white lines lining his back - new stories that she would never gather the courage to ask of. He always looked so confident in his uniform, but when the clothes come off she would see the damage that lay in their wake.
Writing letters home was the most difficult thing. When he put pen to paper it opened up emotions inside of him that he had locked down hard in order to be able to do his job. It made him softer, more vulnerable. But at the same time it was all that kept him going, to re-read his crumpled mud-stained correspondence, to remind him what he was fighting for. It was hard to know what to say though, he didn't want to scare her, he didn't want to say so much he cried while writing it. Spelling had always been a problem for him too, so he was reluctant to use large words. In the end it was brief, he ended it with a description of the battlefield at sundown that he hoped was poetic. He told her of his undying love for her and how he hoped she would write soon.
As he stands in uniform, a poppy on his chest, the soldier makes the salute to fallen friends. A wave of memories surges with the power of an ocean and he is engulfed in grief. Tears run down his face and he does not try to hide, he does not look away, he does not bury his face. He is proud to shed these tears for those who passed on in the war, those who did not make it home to parents, spouses and children. They departed the earth too soon and he would stand with fierce pride each November 11th to mark their lives as well as their untimely deaths. He would stand to say 'You are remembered, my friends.'
He was a boy soldier. It was 1916 and he wanted to avenge the death of his father. His military pay would be sent home to support his mother and sister. He was barely five feet four inches tall and he hadn't yet begun to shave. But he was a fast learner and obeyed his superiors without question. In battle he was fast and efficient. And when they buried him he was no more than fourteen years old.
When he saw the brains of his best friend blown out in the trench next to him he had dropped his rifle and run. He had run from the battlefield in blind terror and panic, but he was found by the military police and charged with desertion. After the guilty verdict he was shot by firing squad. It was 1917 and he was a boy of fifteen on the day he died.
The soldier stands stiffly in his starched and pressed uniform. In those threads that mark him out as a fighter, a protector, a defender, he is barely recognizable as the boy he was only three summers ago. His shoulders are are no longer those of a youth but of a man. He has learnt so much. How to shave, how to iron clothes, shine boots and run for hours in mud; over rocks and through rivers. He has learnt how to get along with others in his troop, male and female. He has learnt how to be independent away from home and his mother. He has learnt marksmanship, how to shoot a human form on a target or a dummy in a simulation. But he has not yet learnt how to kill, how to take a life in the line of duty. He wants to be a hero and a patriot, to serve with courage and dignity. He is everything his country should be proud of. But if he comes home with disabling injuries to body and mind, who then cares for him? When the PTSD wakes him in a cold sweat and he screams in terror, what then?
I thought, because I had grown up in the violent streets of poverty I had seen everything. But nothing could prepare me for the life of a soldier. I have seen friends, allies and my foolish brother who followed in my footsteps die. But I had done the same to enemy soldiers. I either had to die in combat or live with the guilt of what I my hands have done.
The soldier was smaller than the others having barely met the height requirements, but he was as muscular as any other. He could run as far and march for as long. He could assemble his rifle in thirty seconds in the light or the dark. He was the man you prayed would be at your side when the fighting began, he would have your back, he would fight. But he was not a man to confide in. He didn't want to know of your heartache, loneliness or fear. He had his own under control, and while his indifference to the feelings of a comrade seemed cold, it was his only means of self protection.
The gates creaked open and the Roman marched into the fort. Fear and dread coursed through her as she saw all the roman soldiers, swarming like ants, dressed in blood-red scarlet. Leather tents had been erected in neat, tidy rows. A few soldiers wore golden helmets with bright red plumes, giving them a cocky, haughty air. They reminded Alana of strutting roosters.
He watched a pair of Knights striding in unison towards him like a robotic centipede, their armor clanking as they walked.
The only time he let down his stoic facade was when a comrade was wounded, then he was a nurse and a priest all rolled into one, an expert at first aid and a gentle soul to hear their last words.
He was short and muscular with square shoulders and black, close cropped hair. He had a handsome face made slightly uneven by his nose, which had been broken at some time in the past.
The concession beckons. The aroma of fresh popped corn and hot dogs drifts out, brightly coloured rows of candy sit in smart rows at Johnny's eye level and already he pulls on Tom's hand. The injury from Iraq causes a spasm but he swallows it and gives Johnny his stern look. “Are you gonna sweep the yard when we get back and get the dog fresh water?” He stares, face set in a fashion that would make his squadron nervous. Not his son though, he wears his trademark sideways grin.
“Sir, yes Sir!” With that they join the snaking queue, the soldier and his “mini-me,” a movie ticket to the season's blockbuster poking out of each denim pocket.