When your Brother goes to war, it’s perspective you’re looking for

This morning I opened my laptop, just as the kettle clicked. My legs bolted tightly standing straight back up, edging towards the cupboard for mugs, simultaneously removing the fairy crust from my eyes as the familiar email PING echoed from my mac through the air casting a dark anxious shadow over my skin. I dropped the milk into the cloudy goodness spinning around in my morning cradle, inducing the perfect caramel spectrum that eases the day. Slipping my fingers through the ring, my day’s out look tilts upwards and I set it down next to the little grey square of wonders that sharply contrasts the rustic wood, I’m ready to type. All set for the first electronic mail of the day to hold some sort of demand on me financially or behold specific information that will unhinge my latest film projects growth. I brush my fingerprinted index wand over the designated pad increasing the light from the screen to see an email from my Brother, subject: Iraq.

My stomach churns, the sea inside becomes rough, the ships sway side to side as the waves crash against the edges of my skin forcing the hairs to sway up up up to my neck, the breeze is strong now, steady as my finger double clicks. My eyes scan at first, it’s tough to read slowly. Information mainly about how we contact him, then amidst the jumbling of words and facts a small plea that we please contact him, often, even of the dullest news possible.

Before the end of the message an underlined paragraph in red approaches. My eyes see it before I get there, like a bright sun breaching the distance attacking my pupil directly, I can’t escape it, no sunglasses nearby to take the edge off. The section starts, ‘If one of you were to die…’ followed by an assortment of numbers without space. These numbers are a certain order, an order I, we, are to dial in, tap in, press in to the device of our choosing to reach his ears with the news of the deceased. How base life is. So simple at it’s core, just life and death to a soldiers mind, no room to be kind.

It took me an age to respond, or so it felt. His girl friend cc’d along with a list of family and a chosen friend. Do I reply all? With what, good luck? I spelt out a few words eventually, what exactly I’m not quite sure. Comfort did not seem relevant, nor anything nearing emotion, just reassurance, that was the best I could do.

‘Rude am I in my speech, And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace.’ — W.Shakespeare

I strolled down New York city streets the rest of the morning with an airy perspective, a lofty new gap of breathing space above my eyes. My email pinged and vomited all sorts of abuse at me as I strolled freely but today I won’t take it. As I crossed the busy street a traffic cone lay sideways in the middle of the street. I stood still as cars and cops passed it in their whizzing tin capsules. I edged out to the middle when the light was red and moved it. I feel protected today, and lucky to live without fear. We don’t have a soldiers mind, but surely it’s our duty to be kind.