March 4th 2013, Day 4
We had joined a long line of people approaching Birmingham. The fear was apparent in everyone’s faces and those with children kept them close. Marie and John were good people albeit anyone can change in times like these.
The weather had changed drastically last night, turning from sunshine and lollipops to the heavy sound of rain and the hard walk through squelching mud. The mantis were nowhere to be seen although new people joined our group everyday and they talked of the army falling back, relinquishing entire cities to this unseen menace.
Suddenly, the line stopped.
Sammy the little boy looked up at Marie and asked, “What’s happening?”
Marie didn’t answer but hugged him tighter.
The men with guns moved to the edge of the group and we carefully closed in a tight circle. Fear and sweat mingled in the close crowd and you could hear the whispers of prayers and the final goodbyes between lovers.
This can’t be the end. It can’t be! We’re so close to Birmingham. So close to hope.
You have no idea how that feels and I pray, I pray so hard that you never will. To sense the fear of those around, to be hemmed in with nowhere to run, the only barrier between you and them are the bodies standing in front of you.
You don’t refer to them as people. You call them bodies because at that moment that’s what they are to you, bodies. If it’s a choice between you and them, it’s always going to be them. Always, don’t lie to yourself saying that you’ll be brave, that you’ll throw yourself in front of a child because you won’t.
Don’t lie to yourself.
Each breath came slow and measured, making sure that you didn’t make too much noise.
I started to hear something at that point, a strange clicking sound, like bone tapping against bone. Fear ran up my spine quicker than an Olympic sprinter. That’s over too now, the Olympics. School’s nurseries, shops, businesses, banks, houses. Life. It’s all over.
This isn’t one giant guilt trip. This isn’t a lesson about life I’m simply stating what happened. How I reacted.
Sammy decided that this was his moment. His shot at fifteen minutes of fame. Harry took this moment to scream.
“GET OUT OF THE BLOODY WAY YOU STUPID IDIOT. I SAID GET OUT OF THE WAY!”
“HARRY WHERE ARE YOU?!”
“STOP BLOODY WELL KICKING ME!”
I kicked just as much as anyone, I shoved, I pushed and I head butted but I am, was going to live and damn anyone who hot in my way. Damn them. I saw Sammy in front of me, crying his eyes out.
The regret. The regret that’s in me. The sorrow. I didn’t mean to do it. I just wanted to live.
I kicked Sammy. And he fell. And I ran. And Damnit I regretted that action for the rest of my life.
I kicked him. I kicked a child just so I could live. Who gave me the right to do that? Look on in disbelief, go on, but I know, I Know that you would’ve done the same.
I’m running, running so fast everything is just a blur and I pray, I pray I’m running the right way.
I just wanted to live.