Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Civilian on the front lines

So do you ever have a dream you think could easily be turned into a story if you had the time to write it down.  Last night I had one of those dreams.  There were a bunch of guys all hanging out in front of this building, and we were writing in our journals.  One guy was passing around a picture book, and having all of us guys write things in the margins, between the pictures.

We all had on our regular clothing, so it was obvious we weren't real soldiers.  I didn't even have a helmet, at least not yet.  I could tell you I wasn't a real soldier because I have asthma and would never be accepted into a real military.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  For whatever reason, the real military was desperate, and they called on us.

Some of the guys are trying to find their spot for when the battle starts, and I'm just sitting in a lawn chair.  A couple of the guys are amazed how calm I can be at such a stressful moment.  I didn't say anything, although I'm not necessarily as calm as I look.  I'm relaxed to a certain degree because I know I have no control over what happens to me, and I believe in God.  Although I'm still afraid of dying.  I worry what would happen to my wife and kids more than anything.

Then someone says, "You guys know we're on the front lines!" And this causes a bunch of guys, including myself, to crawl down at the front of the porch, duck to behind the fence, and see how we would fit in that spot. I lied down and noted that my head stuck over the barrier unless I was lying down.  I aimed my gun at the distant darkness, and my entire head and shoulders was out in the open; an easy target.  I supposed if I had a helmet on the bullet would ricochet off me.  Where is my helmet?  Please give me a helmet?

I wondered if the fence wasn't completely done.  I wondered what was out there waiting for us, if anything.  Obviously there was something out there or we wouldn't be here.  Then I heard a scuffle, and that's when I realized there were a bunch of kids hanging around also.  They were playing.  One of the guys says, "This is the front lines. All kids I want to gather over there."

So now I'm looking around hoping to see my kids; or hoping not to see my kids.  None of the kids I saw running to my left were mine.  Then I forget about the kids as I'm trying to get my spot ready for battle, although I can't find anyone to help me.  I'm kind of irritated that the battle ground isn't ready.

Then my attention is brought back to the kids again as I hear scuffling to my left.  I look over there thinking I might see warriors pent to kill us, yet what I see are all the kids grouped in a large circle amid a white picket fence.  I hear a truck pull up, and all the kids get into the truck.  I keep watching this even though I know I should be getting myself ready, yet I can't help but to watch the kids until everyone of them is in the truck.  They were snuggled close back of the truck, but at least they'd be alive at the end of the battle.  I couldn't predict the same for me, being that I was amid the med on the front line.

As the kids are being driven off in the distance, the sound of the truck brings me back to reality.  In real life it's probably a truck going by my house as I lie sound asleep.  Then I look in the distant woods where the enemy is probably waiting to kill us.  There appears to be a good chance they will succeed, although you hear no talk about defeat  We are all willing to fight to, obviously, save our kids.  I also have no idea who the enemy might be, and that in itself sends a shiver down my spine. Who am I going to kill?  Why? Will I be able to pull the trigger?  Will I simply cower behind the shield.

Another idea crosses my mind.  I remember in past dreams during similar stressful and scary situations hiding behind the barrier that is my dream.  I know that at any point I can just duck and be still, and no one will see me.  It is, after all, a dream. I remember running in the woods once, away from some killer chasing me, pent on killing me.  And as I'm running I picture a hole in the ground under some stump, and I find that spot, duck into it, and then I can hear as the bad guys are looking for me.  But they never find me.  When I wake up I'm still alive.

So now here I sit, back in my recliner, waiting for the word that it's time to duck for cover, in my battle spot.  I'm assuming now that whatever we have right now is what we will have for battle.  We are the last stand.  I hear a jet over head, loud  It's close.  And instead of looking up at it, I look around at my fellow soldiers.  They are all afraid, as I am, that bombs will be dropped.  None are.  Then, just when we are feeling the sense of relief, another jet goes overhead louder than the first, then another and another.  For about five minutes there were several jets go over head, yet we cannot see any of them in the still darkness.

I know that the lights are on around us, as I can see the glow of our lights of the distant forest.  I can see no soldiers in the field, although I have no idea if our soldiers are out there in camouflage, or if the enemy is.  The dream is set up here so that it's as though I'm just all of a sudden in this spot.  I have no idea of anything that transpired in my life before this scene.  It's kind of like that old TV show Quantum Leap.  The main character in that TV show would all of a sudden take over someone's life, and make things right.  That's where I was, in some soldiers body trying to make out who I was and why I was there.  Only I was me in my dream.  I just didn't know why or where?

A man all of a sudden appears, and I think he's the enemy.  He's telling us what we need to do to survive the war.  He's trying to get us to give up.  He has a gun, and he keeps waving it.  I'm afraid of guns, and am afraid he might shoot it.  Then he aims it at me.  A fear drenches through my body that he will kill me.

The room is full.  I hear a baby cry, and kids innocently bantering about their fake worlds.  Men and women in the room are more solemn, as they wait.  Wait for what.  Then the crown in the middle of the room clears as men in uniform enter.  The men have a stack of journals and a photo book that they pass around.  The women found solace as they find notes from their presumed dead spouses.  I still do not see my wife nor my kids.  I know they must be around somewhere or I wouldn't be here in my spirit form.

Finally I get a chance to look at the photo book.  I see what the men wrote in the columns.  I find not one mention of dead or battle.  The words are all things like "It's a beautiful day out here.  I can hear the crickets chirping."  Each quote is followed by a signature.  I look for something I wrote, and find nothing. I look for my journal. I find nothing.  Why am I here?

Suddenly two more men donned in high military gear enter the room  All the women and men are silent, including the kids.  One of the men says, "I would now like to present the highest metal award to a man who is not in uniform." Now I realize I'm standing behind this man.  I hear sighs and rapid chatter from the folks.  "I would like to provide the award to Rick Frea."

That's when I'm pushed forward.  The military men stand aside, and I'm pushed forward.  Smiles and smiles and smiles across the room on every person I saw.  Yet my eyes quickly find a lady, and my arms go around her, my head upon her shoulder.  Two women and two men wrap their arms around both of us.  Happiness.

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