Please read the beginning of this story as shown within the “Afghanistan Story” tab above.
Afghanistan, July 2010, Camp Delaram
I laid on my bed in my silkie bottoms and shirt. I was freshly showered with the usual layer of dust that had gathered on my dampened skin during the walk back from the showers.
Will had said he would come by my can today after he got off of work. I had told him it wasn’t a good idea because two new girls had moved into the tent I was sharing with the Lance Corporal. I didn’t know their sleep schedules and it was possible that they would be around when he stopped by.
“I’ll come in the back.”
“I dunno, I don’t want to get caught.”
“Just leave the back of the tent open.”
“Will, I don’t want to do anything to get into trouble.”
“I’ll be there around 9.”
I looked at my watch. 0855. He would be here any second. I rolled onto my left side and faced the back of the can. There was a giant zippered square door on the back of the tent. Because the bathrooms were so far away and my bladder seemed to have shrunk exponentially, I had begun stepping out of the back of the tent to relieve myself between the air conditioning units whenever I woke up. No one was ever behind my can but if someone had walked back there around 1300, they would see a groggy and grumpy female trying ridiculously hard not to pee on her feet and sometimes failing.
My ears strained to hear if the new girls had fallen asleep yet. One chuckled.
She must be watching something on her laptop. Fuck. I hope it’s distracting.
Three side of my bottom bunk were blocked from view. The only opening was the left side, the one facing the rear of the can.
I heard the zipper start to come up from the bottom of the tent. It came slowly but deliberately. I bolted upright and gazed around the sheets that blocked my bunk to make sure no one was looking out from their bunks.
When Will stepped in, I gestured to him to hurry over before someone saw him. He was so tall that I was sure his shadow has cast over another bunk when the sun came in through the open tent flap. I shut the zipper and sat down on my bed, close to my pillow. I closed my legs and brought my knees up, hugging them to my chest.
“Will, why are you here?”
“To make love to the mother of my child.”
We were both whispering.
“No, I don’t want to. People are in here.”
“You didn’t care a month ago when you snuck into my can and rode me.”
“That was different. I…I don’t want to do anything.”
“Why? Do you not feel well?”
His voice was suddenly concerned.
“No, I don’t.”
“Are you eating?”
“They keep running out of food during midrats.”
Midrats were the “middle of the night” rations for people on night shift. I was lying to him. They didn’t run out of food. But I couldn’t eat chicken cordon bleu for the fifth day in a row.
“I’ll find you some food. You’ll feel better.”
He leaned over to kiss me. I reluctantly kissed him back. He put his hands on my shoulders and squeezed.
“Will, I don’t want to do-”
He raised his voice.
He shoved me slightly to get me to lay back. I lay down in silence. I couldn’t let the other girls hear.
Will pulled down my silkie shorts. I lay in silence. When he unbuckled his pants, I started to shake my head and opened my mouth. He placed his hand over it.
“They will hear you.”
His hand remained over my mouth as he proceeded to shove inside of me.
I lay in silence.
At one point, I looked over to my weapon that rested against the flight bag. The magazine of bullets was next to it. My knife was on my cammie bottom pocket less than three feet from me.
I didn’t fight back. If I yelled, I would be found out and arrested.
You’re fine. You’re fine.
By the time he done, I had journeyed around the world and back. I had gone to the days of playing “the floor is lava” with my best friend on the bus in elementary school. I had played songs on my flute in my head, purposefully imagining every placement of my finger to form the notes to keep myself from making a sound. “Whisper to their Souls” was drifting through my head. I was riding down the streets of my hometown on my bicycle with my sister. I was anywhere but in Afghanistan.
I didn’t remember him leaving. I remember noticing my pillow was wet from tears but not knowing when I started crying. I remember pulling the knife from my pant’s pocket and laying back down on the bed.
I pulled up my shirt and pulled down the top of my shorts. I opened the knife and traced my stomach, right where my baby was.
I could just stab myself now. If I did it quickly enough, I could probably slice myself open enough to kill her and myself before I went into shock. If they found me in time, they would be so worried about me that they might not notice her. The doctors would. But I would be protected, right?
I pressed deeper into the skin above my uterus with the blade.
I could do it.
Just do it.
I burst into tears and flung myself onto my left side. I could see the now-zippered doorway and the air conditioning tube that ran along the side of the wall and to the ceiling to be deposited six feet above my head.
It’s so fucking hot.
I took my knife and, through the blubbery tears, sliced the AC tube multiple times. Cold air poured out onto me directly.
Why the fuck didn’t I do that months ago? Fuck. I’m fucked.
I started to cry again, not holding back for fear of being found out. I cried loudly and no one heard.