Battlefield

I used to sit and watch you play Battlefield 1

My legs tucked under me as I drew red lines on the essays of fifteen year old girls and nodded, knowingly, at angst and sadness that was theirs and mine

I was distracted by angry German shouting, shrapnel spitting through the air, bodies pierced and punctured by 100 year old bullets from rifles I was starting to recognise: Lee-Enfield, Carcano, Springfield

Willing you, now and then, to look at me

To see me

But you were a sniper picking off enemies from a distance. Such a distance.

And you wouldn’t die for me.

‘Did you see that?’

Yes, I saw that. I saw it all.

Now

Someone else is playing your game.

Someone else is going over the top,

Recklessly pitching grenades at enemy troops

Maybe he is the same vulnerable, dispensable soldier

Traversing no man’s land

Negotiating the unpredictable terrain of the unknown

But he prefers the Madsen

And when he paused yesterday, briefly, to move a piece of hair away from my eye with gentle, precise fingers

I almost cried

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