OLWG#141- I Finally Understand

This was written for OLWG#141



I slowly raised my head and waited for the dust to settle. The ringing in my ears was deafening but I could hear the thump, thump, thump of heavy artillery somewhere nearby.

I felt alone and looked over where Harry lay on his back in the dirt.

“That one was close, huh?”

He didn’t answer. Looking closer, I noticed a thin trickle of blood running from his ear. The concussion must have been stronger than he was. He wore a smile and his eyes were open, but unfocused. He looked as if he’d died happy.

I had met Harry in Primary School. He was an Army brat whose dad had been transferred to Fort Munson, nearby. I think we might have been in third grade, maybe fourth. We became fast friends and grew up together. We learned to smoke at the same time; we learned to drive at the same time. I dated his sister, Katherine, for about six months in high school. That didn’t last but my friendship with the both of them endured. Harry and I were like brothers; we fought with one another. We gambled; played cards for cigarettes, pitched pennies, snuck across the border to Mexico so we could bet on the dog races, drink tequila, and go to the strip shows.

I pulled out the small spiral notebook I always carried in my pocket and the small stub that served as my pencil. Sitting in the cold damp dirt I studied my friend. After a while I began writing down some thoughts:

Lying here on this blood soaked ground
So far from home
I finally understand
I never hated them – I merely feared them
I finally understand

I ripped the single page from the wire rings that bound it to all the other pages, folded it twice and slipped it in Harry’s breast pocket. Then putting my hand on his shoulder, I let the sounds of the battle fade. Maybe I said a prayer, but probably not. I’m not much of a precant.


The prompts were:

  1. throwing pennies
  2. when the dust clears
  3. watch me go