Posted by: Richard Chennault | July 23, 2006

Letters in the Sand

My Dearest Sally,

    The sun is scorching today.  More so than usual and the guys are hot and irritated.  We are waiting.  We do a lot of waiting and watching.   To pass the time Joseph has caught several scorpions and has made a made a make-shift battle ring of small rocks.   The others gather round as Joseph places two of his catches into the ring and the scorpions battle it out.   The rocks are set at a steep angle so they cannot escape.  They are closed in; ringed by forces they don’t understand and set to battle. 

    I don’t like to watch.  I know scorpions are solitary creatures and if they happen across one another will likely battle as not.  But still there is something about being forced to wage war upon one another that reminds me too much of why I am here.   It is if we all are ringed in by things beyond our control and forced to play out some cruel act that shall never end.  It is much being here and watching those hapless scorpions claw at the stones trying to escape rakes at my soul.  So I cannot watch and wish Joseph would set them free. 

   The men are shouting at the scorpions.   they are shouting to loud and I hiss at them to quiet down or we risk being discovered.   They look at me as if I’ve ruined their fun and games.   As if I was some errant parent that had wondered into the private play area.    They subdue their voices but still it is too loud for my comfort.  

    The match is over.  A jet black scorpion with a crooked tail is victor.  Joseph proclaims him to be blessed and that he will live on.  I think Joseph like the others are looking for signs of hope in these shifting dessert sands.  Perhaps it is much the same with me and my desire for Joseph to set the creatures free.   If I could get Joseph to let them go then perhaps we to would be able to return to our homes.   But for now this is our home.   It is a home of friends, no not friends but brothers; brothers in arms.   

     My little ameera I dwell too much on this place.   I should hope to know more of you.    I so worry for you.  How are you?  Have you discovered any new treasures?  Have you made any new friends?  Did your mother ever let you get a kitten?   Is your mother being good?  Tell her to let you write of how you have been.  She knows who to give the letters.   

    Beyond the present and the things without I myself am happy.  My joy comes from knowing you are safe and sound and far from this madness.   When things are bad and the men are desperate for cheer I tell them stories of you.  I tell them of your beautiful smiles and gentle curls.   Curls that fall gracefully about your shoulders and face.   I tell them of joy that is in your heart and the happiness your smile brings to all those that it touches.

    Most of the men here are without wives or children.  They thought to keep themselves from the distractions of being a father or husband.  But in truth they have lost hope and so have rid themselves of any possible path to happiness.   Instead they harden their hearts like stone.    And with a heart of stone they throw all cares away.    I think this is bad and have tried to tell them not to turn their souls into granite.   But they persist and like the sand that blows in the winds their lives are scattered across this desert.  They rush without abandon towards the enemy.  Throwing themselves against an implacable enemy and their lives they thought were hard as diamonds shatter like glass.  Many are gone and I fear many more will leave before this is over.

    It is time.  We must prepare for the evening.   My prayers will be of you.  God willing I will once again look upon your eyes and return to your hugs.   Until then my little angel remember me in your prayers.  Be a good girl and listen to your mother for she is hard working.   Think of me my little ameera for I think of you and even though we may far apart our thoughts should travel together each thinking of the other.  

Love,

Papa

P.S.  Linda:  Please use this money wisely.  I know not when next I will be able to send you more.  Things are not good and it may be awhile before I return to a place where I can send more.


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