Every second that is wasted on the battlefield in a war, is every second that a wounded soldier is bleeding to death. Every chance a medic got to save a life, they got killed. As I sit in a bar and reminisce about the days in the war, I realized just how much my life changed.
I watched in horror as people died. I held people as they died in my arms. I came home from the war. And no one, not one person, knew the horrors that me and my fellow brothers in arms saw. No one even thanked us for serving our country when we came home. So here I sit, inside this bar with my flask in my hand drowning myself with pure alcohol flashing back to the war.
I start to feel the alcohol taking affect as it runs through my body. Someone comes in and sits down next to me. It is a scum bag of the streets; a scam artist who steels what little money the poor and those in poverty have and keeps it for himself.
"How 'bout it?" He says as he sits down next to me. I merely stare at him and look away. He orders a drink. Gin. He orders shot after shot as I gulp the whiskey from my flask.
"You might want to slow down there, chief." The bartender says.
"Oh shut up!" I snap. I can't even remember his name or the name of the bar I'm in. I then look over at the dirt-bag next to me. How neatly dressed he is. With his crisp hat and pressed suit. I compare myself to him and realize I am dressed no different and smile to myself. But as I sit and stare at him, something in me changes. I become angry. A little voice in my head starts to talk in a dark, deep whisper.
"Do it," it says to me.
"No," I say to it. "I can't do it."
"Yes, you can," it says to me, "you know you want to. He's scum. He won't be missed."
An argument starts in my mind. My pure thoughts fighting that little voice. The small whisper wins.
Something in me snaps and I crack my neck with the turn of my head.
"Hey buddy, you okay?" the scum bag asks.
"I'm fine," I snap.
Manfred reached into his robe's pocket and pulled out a book and set it down in the pew next to Marc.
"This is the Holy Bible. I cannot force you to take it and read it. And I cannot force you to pray to God. But Marc, I CAN ask you to take that. And I can ENCOURAGE you to pray. Maybe if you do it and show it, your friends will see what goodness lies in your heart. And you will be forgiven by them, just as the lord forgives you, Marc."
Marc listened as the priest spoke. Every word that was said, every sentence that was completed tore away at Marc's insides. Every word echoed in his mind and Marc couldn't take it. Once more, he choked up and cried. He had really screwed up this time. But the preacher was right. If he could change and show it, maybe he would be forgiven.
Marc grabbed the book and stared at it. Manfred sat next to Marc quietly. For almost ten minutes no one spoke. Marc choked up yet again and wiped a tear from his eye.
"Thank you, father." Marc said to Manfred who smiled at him.
The two men stood up and shook hands.
"Marc, remember these words," Manfred said. "History cannot be undone. But it can be erased."
Marc walked out of the chapel holding his new bible in his hands. He reached into this upper coat pocket and pulled out a cigarette and lit it. He took a long drag of it. The smoked burned his lungs as the filled up with the toxic chemicals. Marc exhaled blowing smoke into the air of the night sky. He had a lot of searching to to do. And as he walked into the night, 9 words echoed in his mind.
"History cannot be undone, but it can be erased."