As a newly-enlisted soldier returns to his childhood play area for the last time before heading off to war, he reminisces…. and, if I’m completely honest with myself, basically just thinks a lot. Here’s a game for you: if you don’t already know, try to find what’s unique about this piece or what the assignment is. (The answer is at the bottom… or in the post name, if you get it.)
The Meaning of Hell
Ah, yes, I remember you; I remember spending so much time with you, memorizing every little quirk and detail. But that was when I was smaller, and you seemed much bigger to the wide-eyed little boy than to the man who stands here now.
Children still run across your paths, and that’s how it was always meant to be, though I won’t deny I feel a twinge of jealousy and possibly regret. Desire for friends and the friends themselves did not cross on the same path for me, but you stayed the same through the years. Every hour I spent here was worth it. Faces and memories are ingrained in your very soil. Good, that’s what it all was, just as God said when He made the world and saw that it was very good – you were very good, and still are, even if the bits I love are beginning to fall into crumbling complacency.
Hours invested into a life are never wasted. I love you, even if you never understand that, even if you don’t care that I’ll shed tears for you when I long for home. Just looking at you brings back my childhood, the friends we had, the games we played every day when we owned the world. Know, always know that you’re what I’ll be fighting for – for freedom, for love, for innocence, for childhood, and everything else that you represent.
Life has taught much to the little boy you once knew. My innocence was traded for a deeper pain, for the recognition of the dark scar that runs across the entire world. Nothing is resolved with this bloodshed, yet they call me, and I cannot resist. On to the “adult” realm, where they want me to go, where children and fun and imagination no longer have any place, even if we were all there at one point in our lives, though most don’t remember.
“Please don’t go.” Queens aren’t the rulers of empires; they’re the mothers of the home, the rulers of their children’s hearts; and yet my queen had no power when they called me to them, when I accepted the call.
Relish the time you have left, for our country may fall. Stand for everything I will be losing. Teach the children what you taught me when a forest was not a battlefield, but an enchanted place for little ones to play in. Understand what freedom truly is: not the kind we bleed and battle for, but the kind that’s deep inside the heart, the kind that can never be taken away or fought for with any army other than a heavenly one.
Value what you have while it’s still here. We will meet again someday. 希望我们以后都还在。1
You’ll be completely the same when I return, I know; yet I – I will be warped by the blood and fighting with my fellow men… Zealous, patriotic men, with whom I will discover what the meaning of hell truly is while we fight for values like love, freedom, and peace in the one place we’re the furthest from them.
And now it is at last time to go.
1Mandarin: “Xi wang wo men yi hou dou hai zai,” meaning, “I hope we’ll both be alive after this.”
2Mandarin: “Zaijian,” meaning “Goodbye.” (Literally, “See you again.”)
Yup. This assignment was to write a short story starting each sentence with the consecutive letters of the alphabet. And yes, I technically cheated at the end, but hey, it works better than sticking in weird words like “xerosere” or something ridiculous like that.
Also, at the end I included two additional sentences that start with A and Z just to conclude it better. My puny brain was also kind of impressed that the two last sentences end with another A and Z, since the alphabet is from A to Z :P
I guess I could also say this is half based off what I’ll be going through soon. I’ve grown up overseas for the past 12-ish years of my life, but now I’ll be leaving the places that I grew up in, and when I return I know I’ll be a different person: a big, old, responsible adult :O (I know; it’s shocking for me to think about, too.) So this is a pre-goodbye to the country I love. 再见。