Shell shock

A moment of comfort.
Source: U.S. Army, Korea Media Center: official Korean War online video archive

Sometimes, dreams come simply; any symbolic element of relevance bubbling readily to the surface. Some wake you laughing; with ludicrous images arising from apparently disassociated elements and ideas.

Yesterday morning’s was neither.

Myself and a stranger are somewhere in a muddy field, decanting plastic crates from the back of a Land Rover. There are a bunch of African kids crowding around us, eager to assist carry the contents of the crates into a nondescript building of some vintage.

The stranger has an enormous grin, as he notes how great it is that the village has found this resource so useful. “It’s really helping the people understand what they need to do…” I have no idea what he is talking about.

I’m looking down at the content of the crates. Old VHS tapes, really grotty looking, thick with dust and grime, and much the worse for wear. They all appear to have been used time and time again, with multiple labels, some stripped off, and without anything to indicate what might be on them. I pick through them, wondering to myself just how much use they can possibly be; the technology is so obsolete, and what we have here seems pretty far gone.

Under the tapes, there are odd mechanical parts. I have no idea what the purpose of these might be.

Just off to the right, a large group of men have gathered. They have their backs to us. There appears to be a bit of a party atmosphere in the group. As we carry on unloading the crates, I idly wonder what the celebration might be.

Fire crackers are let off. The noise is deafening.

My colleague hits the ground in a quivering ball. He has his hands over his head, and is anxiously whimpering. I kneel down, grasp his hand, and gently comfort him. “They are only fire-crackers. It’s all right.” He is inconsolable, and we remain, cowering behind the vehicle, until the last fire-cracker fizzles out.

It takes some time, but I finally manage to convince him that it is all over. That it is safe. He withdraws his hand and wipes away tears and snot, before uncurling, stretching, and slowly standing up.

As I help him rise, “Are you OK, now?”, I ask.

I feel the rubberised elastic of the waistband on his waterproofs. I can smell the cordite. The heat is oppressive. A bead of sweat.

“Yes, thank you. Thank you for staying,” he replies, before turning and walking over in the direction of the crowd of now dancing men.

Whilst the individual elements, can be extracted, viewed in isolation, turned over, and catalogued, the entirety of the meaning, might never be understood.

Except… somewhere… deep down… I must already know…

About A Misanthropic Bear

Intermittent posting of random touchstones, memories and events. This wasn't meant to be what it would become... But then, is it ever?
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18 Responses to Shell shock

  1. Oh, so moving!! You did great, Running Elk!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps, when it’s time, you’ll come to understand what it means? Sometimes that’s how it happens. Then again, perhaps this is one of those dreams you’ll never unlock the full meaning of… Only time will tell, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adele Marie says:

    Some elements of your life that need throwing away? Someone close to you needs your help and understanding, perhaps something they’ve never spoken about before to anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. stevetanham says:

    For the purposes of security, only, we request you do not turn up to SE18 with the Work oks in plastic crates… grin.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Old Technologies for New Symptoms… Surface Solutions… Threat of the Real… Resolution through Fire and Dance… Anybodies Guess? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Widdershins says:

    it’s the chipping away at the dross so we can get to the Knowing, that’s the Work, isn’t it? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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