By lex, on August 17th, 2008
It’s funny sometimes, the little things. One of the Hobbit’s friends is out of town and her daughter – one of the Kat’s friends – has been staying with us for the last cuppla. Good kid.
You’d never get the impression from the Kat that she gives a fig about whatever experiences her parents have got in their wake. Any advice based on lessons learned is subjected to varsity eyeball rolling. Please. Things are so different today. And so on.
And yet, her friend asks informed, probing questions. About things that clearly have been relayed to her by your own daughter, like. Things which she herself had never spoken about, asked about or even showed an interest in. But about which she had clearly been paying attention, whenever a word or two was uttered. Putting it all together.
The Kat’s Friend: So, have you ever been to Iraq?
Your correspondent: Not actually on foot, but I’ve been over it a time or two.
TKF: So what did you think?
YC: That’s the way to visit, I think. Thirty thousand feet.
TKF: So, you’ve killed people?
YC: (Surprised, hesitating). Yes. Yes I have.
TKF: What was that like?
YC: Oh, well. At the moment of doing it, it’s fairly clinical. A duty to do, and something you’ve been trained for. There’s the target, now it’s gone. It’s afterwards, when you’re laying in your bunk trying to go to sleep that you think about it. What you did. The irretrievable finality of it.
There’s a line you cross you can’t quite get back from. A before and after. (Looks at the child, all of 14-years old. Doubting that she can possibly understand. Privately happy that she’ll probably never have to.)
TKF: Did you ever worry that you might have killed civilians?
YC: No, mine were all solid military targets. People who had the bad luck to be in my way, but who would have killed American sailors or soldiers if they could have. (Thinks about people he knows that can’t say that. Wonders how they deal with it.)
TKF: So, (the Kat) tells me you were in TOPGUN?
YC: (Brightening) Yes, I was!
TKF: Did you have any lines?
YC: (Momentarily confused) Lines?
TKF: You know, a speaking part?
YC: (Understanding, finally) No, I wasn’t in the movie. I was in the squadron that the movie was made about.
TKF: (Disappointed) Oh.
Sic transit gloria.