Friday, July 4, 2008

June Prompt 004: Ache/ Artistic License

Danijela and Jasna

A week, had it already been that long?

Luka's eyes settled on the small black and white photograph that lay under his hand. A week ago he and Danijela had been looking toward their future, making plans for where they would go when his residency was finished. The decision had already been made to leave Vukovar. It wasn't just the war, being so far from family and friends had been hard on them both, but now, with Jasna ready to start school, and Marko walking and talking so much more. There was so much they wanted to share with their parents, with their grandparents, with all of those who meant so much to both of them.

A week they'd been gone, and all he had left of them was a single photo of his wife and daughter and memories of a life that was gone forever. No, he had more than that, he had the ache of loneliness, the guilt from promises he'd made and would never keep. Why was he so special? Why couldn't his life have been the one forfeited?

It's gone. As if losing my family isn't enough, my faith is gone as well. How could it not be? What kind of god steals life from those who haven't even had a chance to live yet? All these years we've wasted, believing in what we thought was a just and loving god, and this is how He repays us?

I'm tired, I want to sleep but, I can't because I know they'll be there. It's been a week, and everytime I close my eyes they are there, questioning me, begging me to save them. Over and over I see my baby boy's bruised body as I free him from the rubble that buried him alive. I hear Danijela's cry of anguish as I tell her Marko's gone, but, nothing is worse then repeatedly failing my little girl, knowing that because I was too tired to go on, she too had to die.

I want to be left alone with my grief. I'm tired of hearing how sorry everyone is, sorry's won't bring Danijela or our babies back. I want the pain to stop but, it won't, and I wonder if this is what I deserve for not dying with them. I was supposed to protect them and I didn't. How do I explain my failure as husband and father to protect them to our parents? How do I tell them that they'll all gone? I want to crawl inside a bottle and never come out, and even as I wish that I know I can't. I'm the keeper of their memories, and as long as I live so do they, but, it doesn't make me miss them any less.

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