Fortitude
By : Lim Li Anne
Author’s note :
This was actually a prologue of a story written at a dark night many, many months ago. Since the previous post was related to war, hence, I found this fitting. Enjoy.

“I’m not afraid of death. It’s the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life.”
 – Jean Giraudoux Prelude

“Just what would you do to prove your determination?
To stand upright and whip out dictations,
As the rest gaze at you with admiration,
While you try to dish out everything with perfection.

Just what would you do to correct your wrongs?
To end the hypocrisy that has been there for too long,
As you endure the mockeries that resemble hurtful songs,
While struggling to erase mistakes carved on that statue of bronze.

Just what would you do to live life to the fullest?
|To take chances and attempt to soar to the highest,
As obstacles hurl themselves with their toughest,
While you join the rest and together shine the brightest.

Just what would you do to show your love for others?
Respect for your parents, affection for your brothers,
As arguments escalate and force apart the set of lovers,
While you try to fill up the cracks with sand and withered roses…”

My fists balled up tightly, crushing the bloodstained piece of paper tightly in the palm of my hand. I closed my eyes and tried to stop the pounding in the base of my skull, the regret that coursed through my veins like a live fire.

The truth was, I would have done anything.

All I needed was to try, to attempt, to at least make a simple effort.

 I could not even do that.

Brushing away the hair that was obstructing my vision, I knelt down. The cold, hard granite was rough and uncomfortable on my knees, and it especially stung at the scar that would permanently be there. I shook my head. It would be a reminder of what a fool I was. It was a reminder that you were once alive but was gone for good. It was a reminder that I had caused this. A reminder. A reminder. A damn reminder that I was never good enough.

Your initials were carelessly scratched at the bottom of the headstone, where I knew you were resting, somewhere below. And that was where I silently placed the small bunch of flowers I had picked at the valley side. I remember what you loved most – carnations. Should I initiate a prayer? Perhaps. I did not cry, for I knew you hated it the most when I did.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally found the strength to stand up. It was dusk, and your resting place was overlooking the seas of Rothna. Seagulls were soaring in the sky, not knowing or caring about the incident that took place just a few hours ago. Everything was dyed red, the rippling waters, the flurry of sand, the swaying palm trees, young children that were running to their mothers. Many people were shaken, but life still had to go on. Dinner and sleep would come. And dawn would arrive the next day, erasing any evidence of a violent battle that took place the day before.

I was taught to grieve, to mourn, but not to let it hold me back forever. Losing lives in a battlefield was a common occurrence – I needed to tell myself that this was just another unfortunate case, a case that was no special than any other lost life.

 The wind blew.

Grass tickled my ankles, water drops from strong waves sprayed onto my face.

I unfolded my palm, and allowed the wind to carry the piece of crumpled paper away.

 

Carry on.

 

 I would find the strength. Somehow.

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