Everyone knows that grandparents have a knack for telling good war stories. Their heroic feats are beyond imagination to the sparkling innocent eyes that gaze up curiously into their faded gray pupils. With eyes locked and ears forced forward, mouth agape and hands on knees, the little wonders lean forward excitedly, and one cannot help but continue with the stories. The words of wisdom soaked out from the dry and hoarse voice of an elderly man, blinking tiredly as he strains his weary eyes to stay open.
My grandfather would always tell excellent war stories. I would sit in front of him for hours at a time just to hear him speak. I wanted to share war stories of my own. I’d never been to war, but I had felt the fear of being shot at by missiles. I let my imagination soar.
The summer air was humid. Sitting in my chair, pencil in hand, I simply stared at the blank lined paper. It was too hot to write sentences, and did I honestly even care? No. I did not. Outside I could hear the screams of my friends. They were playing outside, the one place that I wanted to go. The screams continued, but they were not screams of fear but of pleasure and excitement.
With a quick glance behind me, I assured myself it might be safe to sneak out if only for a little. I quietly exited my seat and went outside.
I saw the water guns.
But it was too late.
Rapid firing of the cool liquid shot at my face. My eyes blinked to adjust to the new brightness of the outside world. The sun was directly above us, hovering with its evil eye and relentless gaze. A scream escaped my lips as I headed to the hose at the side of our house. I took the fire, squirming my back as I turned the nozzle as fast as I could, picking up the hose and returning fire. With the squeal of my friends, one would have thought that he had died. He fell to the ground in a dramatic pose with his heart clutched and eyes rolled back. A smile was solid on his face.
I took my thumb off of the end of the hose and let it run smoothly. I couldn’t hear him laughing and he was incredibly still. I dropped the hose and rushed over to him, convinced that maybe I had actually hurt him. As I approached him and shook his arm, behind me a shot of water hit my back, cold and stinging with the pressure of a thumb behind the trigger.
Those are the things that I remember as I lay here dying. The wet liquid dripping from my wound, laying in the mud and thinking of my grandfather.
However, this is a story I will not be able to tell.