I sat out my war in a series of back end stations, always behind the frontline, couched down away from missiles and drones. The days were long and filled with abortive chess moves, and the radios rarely worked. We raided local supplies for wine and cheeses, although these were poor products, lacking in bucolic artistry, little more than vinegar and curds. The women (or men) regarded us as being timid creatures, pallid in our oversized fatigues, and it seemed obvious to everyone that we had cried throughout the dark nights of our training, as in fact we had. As the war continued, I told myself that I longed for action, the triumph of a kill, but inevitably the boredom comforted me, and I grew to understand that the limits of my heroism were defined by being prepared to count out the days of my life in a kind of regimented emptiness, shielded from violence and the hazard of risk.
Published by Dan Bennett
I'm a writer and poet. My first novel, All the Dogs, appeared in 2008, and was described by Niall Griffiths as 'a stirring debut, a compellingly written tract on the importance of finding a place on the earth.' My fiction has appeared in London Noir, Crimewave, Black Static and 3AM. I live in London, where, amongst other things, I teach Creative Writing for the Open University. https://absenceclub.com View all posts by Dan Bennett