My Soldier Boy

 

By Linda B.

 

My soldier boy is asleep, not that heís a boy. I donít know his age, I didnít ask and it doesnít matter. Boys quickly turn into men in this bloody war or they die.

 

I lay beside him, both still now, not touching now. I have time to look at him, to really see what he looks like. He may be here tomorrow. Iíd like to think he will be, but this is war, and warriors, like my soldier boy, donít belong to me. No, he belongs to a general or some other officer.   

 

One hand, with those gentle fingers, spreads out beside his naked thigh and twitches. I want to feel their caress again, but I let him sleep.

 

Thereís a row of shiny sweat beads across his top lip, the only evidence on his body of what weíd done. I donít know what happened. No, thatís not true. I know what happened and neither of us minded that it did. One moment we were kissing in the street, arms wrapped tightly around the other, the next we were in my room and he was unbuttoning my blouse and I his equipment belt.

 

The crumpled sheet is twisted around his arm. It continues low across one hip and over the other bent leg. Iím tempted to move the sheet to see all of him. Instead Iíll be content with looking - thereíll be time for more than looking later. 

 

Heís a soldier and must be fed to keep fighting, but he looks like he hasnít eaten properly for weeks. The belly is flat, no excess flesh over his ribs and his legs are lean and strong from all the walking a foot soldier endures. 

 

His skin in marked with puckered scars -- a small, neat one here, a jagged one there, a long one across there. My sleeping soldier boy has been wounded in body, and as I look at his face, I can see heís also been wounded in spirit.

 

His face is softer in sleep but heís not restful. His eyes move under the lids, darting from one side to the other. Soft lips part and I see a glimpse of white teeth as his breathing changes from slow and deep to quick and shallow.

 

I canít help myself and reach out to gently stroke his face. I use the lightest of touches so I donít wake him.

 

I canít breath! His hand is around my throat and Iím shoved backwards. 

 

I donít know what hurts the most -- my throat, my head hitting the floor or my back as I land on his gun.

 

 I donít want to look at him, but I canít help it. His face is so close to mine, I feel his breath as he straddles my body, pinning me to the floor. His eyes widen in surprise.

 

ďIím sorryÖ Iím sorry,Ē he says as he lifts me up, holding me close to his chest. I cling to him, my arms around his neck. He lays me gently on the bed and sits close beside me. My thigh touches his or does his touch mine? Iím not sure.

 

I canít bare the look on his face.  

 

 ďI thought you wereÖĒ

 

ďÖgoing to hurt you?Ē I whisper.

 

He gives me a wry smile. ďSomething like that.Ē 

 

I can see heís looking at my neck. ďYou okay?Ē

 

I nod and canít help but smile at my soldier boy. For an instant he looked like my brother when he did something wrong, but heís not my brother Ė heís my lover.

 

ďWant me to kiss it better?Ē he asks softly.

 

I smile and nod.

 

*****End*****

 

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