Not a cloth, all that flowed in my

Not another one. The peopleflowed like rivers, never stopping for obstacles but swirling around them.There was no more room but we had to accommodate him as they were the lastremaining troops that defended the east border of the warzone.  With a soft tone, he whispered tome, “are you an angel?”, as we transported him to a medical bed.

Dressed in awhite apron and veil, I would understand why, however, it was not long until allthat was left of the blood that had once flowed thick and scarlet in his veins saturatedmy apron and was clasped in my callused fingers. As I hindered the blood woundwith a cloth, all that flowed in my head was silent montages of the possibilitiesof preventing this from initially occurring.  Meanwhile irregular windstorms offire arrows skirled and sizzled outside our tents that induced teeth shatteringand tingling spines. My cinnamon hair was locked away by a hair tie that embodiedthe colour of my own, and within minutes of duty it had attracted attentionaway from the displacement of colour as if it seemed like the cinnamon had beenburnt.  My heart began to pounderratically with my mind searching for ways to escape. My stomach lurched andadrenaline began to pump, steering me towards the exit of the tent to relievemy symptoms. Now disengaged from the existence behind me, I peered my eyestowards the aqua sky that looked like it had been smudged over with greycrayon, a thin veil of smoky gunpowder; there was no place for alleviation.

 Being a nurse was closer to thebattlefield than an insipid desk job back at home. I observed the mirror imagesof defeat in the eyes of these men, but the tenacious courage lingered, theirdesires to step back out onto the battlefield were painted on all their faces. Ithad inspired me, I was eager to enter that realm of the war that I was notaccustomed to. But I was always told by my fellow nurses, “you’re not fit to do a man’s job” and “why would you want to sign up for your own death?”.

Why – was the question that hovered in my thoughts for a long time.  It reached the final glow of thenight, where all nurses had longed for every day. We cherished theinfinitesimal time of our break to scoff down our rations and received our payof the day. I was given 40c a day plus rations; only $12 a month.   ***It was an amazing feeling, when Iknew my life was less important and my courage was in need. I felt my fearsflow out and a warrior broke inside me.

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I secured my hair into a bun with thehair tie I always wore, and hid it from the outside world of reality under myhelmet. A bitter wind swept the hillsideand the ground was now slick with rain, my boots now one with the mud depletedthe energy source I reserved for the battlefield. I was assigned a machine gunthat was the size of my torso as heavy as a brick, an onerous duty that I couldnot avoid as I had to uphold my masculine identity. I had finally reached the westernfront where the trench, metres long, became the guardian of our men, andmyself.

The acrid smell of stale gunpowder infiltrated my nasal cavities, thefearful blow of explosions just an arm distance away and the hoarse howl ofpeople encapsulated my senses… “Fire!” our commander screamed. My sanity was onthe verge of extinction, my finger laid atop of the trigger, but I was frozenin fear. The attention to the continuous sounds of gunfire were then replacedby a smellof mustardDMD1 … poison gas.

Withtrembling fingers, I grabbed my gas mask and placed it over my head, I closedmy eyes and placed it over my face, then opened my eyes into a new light.  I stood in complete disorder,when suddenly bullets began to pelt at us, slaughtering us like sheepunexpectedly. I peered over to the left side of my shoulder and saw fathersfighting to their last breath, the wounded began to double, laying thickly overthe marshy ground. I witnessed one brave yet impulsive soldier climb out of thetrench and began to make his way closer to the enemies. He reached just metresaway from the trench when suddenly a bullet had entered his right leg and he instantlyfell to the ground.Instinctively, as a former nurse, I felt obliged to get him to safety, and thegas mask had given me a feeling of protection and bravery that I needed toclimb out of the trenchDMD2 .

I bolted to theinjured soldier and dragged him closer to the trench where other men thentransported him to a casualty clearing station.  Within seconds, my senses haddiminished, with a numb thud that tore out of my body, gathering flesh andtissue on its one-way path through my abdomen. My sight greyed as my body beganto crumble to the ground.

I watched the whole world within the span of my eyefade in complete darkness.  ***I was woken up by the sounds ofan explosion, I instantly lifted my body with the thought of getting myself tosafety, when suddenly two hands pressed against my chest and forced me backdown. At that moment, I realised that I was not defending the American bordersbut was lying on a hospital bed. My head felt lighter… I realised that myhelmet was no longer on my head and my hair was no longer hidden.

I was a womanagain.  I peered over my left shoulderand noticed the soldier who laid on the bed next to me was the man that I hadsaved at the battlefront. He turned his face towards mine and smiled. His eyesthen peered across to long hair which I was then faced with shock and disgust…the look of betrayal was smothered on his face.  I was not rewarded with bravery but the reality ofhumanity. DMD3   DMD1Makethe description more cruesome.  DMD2Perhapshave an assertive behaviour.  DMD3No.

 Recognition of the contribution of women in war.