I wish I had the talent to be a baseball player. They say there’s no crying in baseball. For that matter, I wish I had the talent to be anything other than what I did. Maybe a chef, a carpenter, jeweler, engineer, anything other than what I’ve been doing.  Although I was working as an export broker, the only talent that was needed was to manage what was already there.  In other words, there was no talent needed.

Then, one day, I was up to my eyeballs in misery. The misery of being yelled at by someone who was training you so that you could survive different kinds of miseries. Misery of living in leech infested jungle, the misery of staying awake for days at a time, the misery of living in and witnessing the horrors of human atrocities, etc.

I often asked myself, “how in the hell did I ever get myself in this mess?”

Then we’d go out in on an assignment. Some of us were more able to handle the situation better than others, but we’d all come out physically uninjured.

Physically uninjured. From the outside, it all looks fine.  That’s because no one can see the wounds that fester on the inside.

There’s not much anyone can do for the dead, but for those who are barely alive, or the ones about to die, we tried to do what we could. We were able to do more for those who were still left alive; we would give them food, shelter, medicine. And perhaps try to answer their questions of why did this had to happen to them.

It was times like these that would recharge us. It reminded us of why we were there in the first place. Most, if not all of us, hid the anger that exploded inside of us. We sought for release of the pressure by hunting down the motherfuckers that made us answer to the question we could not answer.

Most of time, the answers came at the end of the barrel of our weapons making a series of loud bangs. At least we believe it was the answer. Maybe, just maybe, if we shot enough bullets, if those bullets hit enough of the bad guys, the question would simply cease to be.

It wasn’t, and never had been, and it never will. The military types would come by afterwards and take some of them into custody. Other times, they’d carry them out in big black plastic bags with handles on them.

We thought we were the strong enough to prevail through all this. We were trained to survive the misery. We even had somebody yelling in our faces so that we could stand up to all this shit.

We were wrong. We were, oh, so wrong.

Witnessing death in a massive scale is one thing. Witnessing death on personal level is another. Trying to answer questions on a personal level such as these can never be answered. No matter how many bullets were fired. No matter how many times one achieves revenge, on a personal level. It just cannot be done, and the question lingers on, and on and on. Soon the question becomes infected inside of those who tried to answer the question which has no answer.

But we try to answer the question; it hurts not to. We know deep down inside that there is no answer, but we still try. The more we try, the more it hurts. Day after day, we try to answer that rancid question. We try, we try, and we fail.

Every fucking time the question comes up unexpectedly in a totally unrelated conversation, or hearing a sound that you’ve heard before, or if the fucking wind blows in the wrong fucking direction – anything – yet again, we fail to answer the question.

That failure hurts; it hurts in a way that now my tears have replaced the bullets. I would’ve run out of bullets if that answered the question, but I’ll never run out of tears. Maybe the tears will one day answer the question, maybe. But in the meantime, the infection that lives inside of us will keep hurting.

“Physically uninjured?” they’d ask.

“Yup,” we’d answer “Physically uninjured.”

Tears for Bullets