13 April 2009

War stories

Her hands are tender now, on his olive skin. She can feel the pain just beneath the surface, the festering wounds on his soul. As her hands pass over each scar, she feels his memory of how it was gained: here, the comrade he couldn't save.  Here, the terror of the heat and fire around him. Here, the secret fear of having let down his men. Each of his wounds cut her as she feels them, but she welcomes this pain, letting it wash through her and bring a new understanding of this man she loves and the experience of not only him, but others whom she loves as well. 

Pain is the price of this kind of wisdom, and she will pay it gladly for the knowledge of how to help him and wisdom to apply it well.

She strokes his skin gently. 'Who heals the healer?' she asks him, a question her hands offer the answer to.
Slowly, carefully, struggling with the urge to push, to pull, to force the wounds open, she gives him love in exchange for his pain, caring in exchange for his fear, acceptance in exchange for his guilt.

She knows this pain now, feels it in her own soul as an echo of his and she lets her heart guide her hands along his still body. She finds each scar, each wound, and presses it, gives him the space to gasp and whisper its origin. 
'Wounds of the soul are no different than those of the body,' she whispers to him. 'When covered and hidden and kept from light and air, they close over but fester beneath. Only when they're opened, exposed, and cleaned with tears do they heal.'
Each wound that she finds she shows him, loves him, gives him a safe space to be vulnerable in the ways he couldn't there, with them, with those for whom he is responsible. With each wound he opens to the air, he bleeds tears which clean the memory, the wound.
With each baring of his soul, she holds him through the tears and she kisses him tenderly. The brush of lips less an invitation than a reassurance that she loves him no less for this vulnerability, admires him no less for this pain, respects him no less for these wounds. 

And slowly, slowly, they heal together.

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