The Lonely Sounds of War
One question everyone always asked me when I got back from Desert Storm was “What was it like?” It’s a tough question to answer, because there’s so much of it, and it’s hard to convey the sense of it in words. But The Daily Post had a prompt about doing lists, and since I was practicing writing the sense of sound at a local waterfall, I’m going to do the sounds of war. But I’m also going to avoid all the usual trappings, like gunfire and artillery.
War is thunder and lightning rolling across the sky. A rumble in the distance, then violent booms. It leaves us worn down, impatient for something to happen. Yet, we dread the moment it will.
War is the silence that comes out with the chill of the night as stars crowd into the sky. It looks like it should be peaceful, but the war is ever present, hiding in the darkness while he waits for us.
War is the two voices drifting past the tent and fading out. People I thought I knew, and people I know too well, and people I don’t know at all, all wrapped up into one. I listen to my voice. Do I even know me any more?
War is suddenness: a boom, a hand holding down a truck horn, anything that sounds like an alarm. We jump up, our senses jarring loose and scattering to the wind. Where’s the danger? What direction is coming from? Has it come for us now?
War is what’s in our voices. It’s what we don’t say, what we don’t talk about. It’s everything but war, what might happen to us. We talk, but we don’t connect any more. It’s like we’re all trying to pretend like this isn’t happening to us.