Monday, April 24, 2006

the army wants you...

on the plane back from minneapolis last weekend i should have slept, but the people behind me had their lights on- all three of them and in such a contained space, it might as well have been floodlights. and so, i proceeded to write notes to friends that i have been putting off for too long.

the middle seat: a kid who looks like he's in his late teens is reading specialty car magazine. playing in his ears, sublime. and somehow, we get to talking- really he starts talking and i merely open my ears to him.

he's on his way to boot camp. he will be training in the army for two years, trying to be considered for some special missions unit. he walked onto the plane late with his skateboard in tow, sat in the wrong seat and finally ended up in the middle seat next to me.

"i've wanted to join the army for a long time because i want to make the world a better place."

his eyes kindle with fire when he describes a love for extreme sports and i find out that yes, he is nineteen...

with barely any stubble on his chin, i look at his youthful vibrance and almost want to reach out and touch him, pray over him, that those days would end when his head is full of grey hairs and he's able to tell all these stories of families he's saved, whose lives are better because of his role in the army.

and this would all be the way it might look in an ideal world. no. in an ideal world there would be no need for armies or war, and yet i'm sure you can even admit that ours is not an ideal world. as i looked at his soft almost childlike cheeks that still showed signs of babyfat, thoughts of this kid holding a machine gun only made me clutch my blanket closer to me and utter the whisper of a prayer in the direction of the middle seat.


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