A new opportunity

I am always afraid of nights. They remind me of the past.

In the darkness, I can hear the thunderous noise of the bombs again, the howls of horror, and I can even smell the blood.

Many years have gone by, but some things are impossible to forget.

It’s true that I also have great memories. The camaraderie. Breaking bread with my platoon under a clear and starry night. Receiving letters from our families, and dreaming of the future or a different present.

But these moments were brief. As soon as we listened to the general’s voice, we would all run to the trenches.

One day, I took a bullet to the heart. A fatal wound. I remember being put on a stretcher to take me to the infirmary, but it was too late. I died almost instantly, almost with no suffering.

I broke through a white long tunnel where different images of my life flashed past.

What a pity to die this young. What a shame to leave Amanda and Julian on their own.

I don’t know how much time passed walking through that tunnel. However one morning, I awoke in the living-room of my old house, but I was in a big plastic container.

To my surprise, I heard Amanda waking Julian up for breakfast.

I made an effort to shout, to tell them: Hey, it’s me! But I didn’t have a voice.

I realised that I now had a new life. Me, of all people, that never believed in these things, was having a new opportunity to be close to my family.

Now Julian plays with me everyday. I enter his fantasy world, where wars are a game, and I drink tea with the teddy bear.

During night-time, I get off the container and I slowly walk to Amanda’s room to watch her sleep.

I am a cardboard soldier and one day, when the right moment comes, I will regain my voice to tell Amanda and Julian my secret.

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