07 July 2007

At Sea

The grey seas stretched on into infinity. There was no difference between the sea and the sky. I felt as if I were in a giant grey sphere. The grey skies and the gentle swell of the grey sea engendered a melancholy state of mind. I thought of a hamster in a ball, running about, terrified, amusing the children while they set loose the cat upon the globe containing the trapped hamster.

I could spoil the children's game. I could cheat the cat. I could slip over the railing and feed the sharks.

I laughed softly to myself. Far more exciting to break free and kill the cat...

Freedom. What is it? Are we free? Was I not compelled to take on Nascimento's contract? We argued late into the night. The bargain: Nwargo to Lagos to escort the shipment of guns to the Yoruba rebels. I was to kill a German who had failed to pay for "services rendered."

A crisis of conscience. Feed the fire in southern Nigeria. Kill a man, whom I did not know, with whom I had no quarrel. Life. Death. Peace. Conflict.

I looked again at his picture. The man whom I would kill. Nascimento had been vague. Perhaps Nascimento himself had no quarrel with this man. Perhaps it was merely another contract... another way to earn money.

Perhaps I should have stayed with Soleto in his monastery and sought the Truth.

I thought of our days at the Academy. Calrissian walked beside me along the path to the Sacred Grove, where the Maple was tall, beneath the canopy of branches which must never be cut. Our training was near completion. Soon we would venture forth to serve and protect Canada.

We reached the Sacred Grove. Maple seeds spun down towards us in greeting.

Calrissian's voice was soft but firm as he turned to me and spoke. "It is your duty as a Commando to serve the Truth."

"But what is the Truth?"

A faint smile accented General Calrissian's wise face. "That is your quest. To seek It out."

"Can I not find It in the holy texts?"

"They contain much wisdom. Many claim to have found the Truth in them. However, were it that easy, there would be no conflict."

"Perhaps conflict is the Truth."

"Perhaps. Perhaps." Calrissian placed his hands on my shoulders. His brown eyes seared through to the back of my skull. "Explore not only the path to your home. Drink not only from the well before your house. Eat not only the bread baked in your oven."

That seems eternities ago.

Now I sought a truth. I needed to know if Sarge had betrayed Nwargo and I.

Perhaps the only truth was that I would not grow old.

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