Today I am pretty late to the fight but that’s not all, here’s a real fight.
On a warm December 18th, we were seated in our large, desert camouflaged tent at Camp Fallujah cracking jokes and sipping Cola. Christmas was coming, but that’s not the best part. Some of the boys were outside on the tarmac catching ball. Hip-hop was playing on full blast from the stereo. I was the DJ.
Our platoon was leaving Iraq in a week’s time. We had been engaging in what was the biggest battle since the allied forces attacked Iraq to topple Sadam Hussein. It was code named Operation Al-Fajr or “dawn”. We were finally going to meet our people back home. Put an end to those emotional video calls and prayers that the next day isn’t our last. Finally. We’re coming home baby.
In one piece. Now that was the best part.
But just then in a flicker of an eye, on the road up ahead, two rogue,
dilapidated cars zoomed on towards our camp. They were shouting Islamic
chants and firing AKs in the air. We had been caught off guard.
Bang! They rammed into the side of the wall that was separating our base from the desert plains below. In no instant, we were covered in a dusty cloud of fire, a pungent stench of burnt plastic, metal, flesh and noise of shouting men, gun fire and exploding devices.
All of us who were on the tarmac were on the ground. A lot of the men were
groaning in pain and coughing blood. Some were limbless and calling out in
pain for medivac. We were staring in the face of the grim reaper.
During my stay at the camp, I had made a friend called Paul. He was a sniper.
His team was to leave Iraq two weeks after us but today he was at our site to give me something to take back home to his wife. A sash of beautiful colors he had bought from the market. He had also bought something for his daughter.
A sweater of many colors.
His body, looking lifeless lay a few meters away from me. I was trying to stretch out and touch him. To shake him to life. Calling out to him so that he doesn’t lose the fight.
I on the other hand, I hadn’t realized that I had got a fatal injury to the abdomen. Since I didn’t have my Kevlar vest on, it wasn’t hard for the
shrapnel to pierce into me. I was losing blood. I hadn’t noticed yet. However,
Paul was coming around.
I was dying. It’s at that moment that I realized it. I was all warm around the
abdomen from the the blood I was losing yet my limbs were getting cold. The
grim reaper was here.
By the time he woke up, I was dying.