This child, this young man, walking away from her – walking into an uncertain future, or no future at all.
Her body ached, literally every part of her hurt. A different kind of labor pain she thought – not the one that brought him into the world, but one that now allowed him to walk away from her.
Men, she thought…they could never understand what a woman feels. What would his father be thinking now if he was standing next to her? Would pride be his paramount emotion? Foolish arrogance that his son will emerge from carnage a triumphant hero?
She could only think of losing him. He came from her. He was a part of her that she now had to let go.
Let this go away – she begged of whom, she did not know. She just wanted to wake up from this nightmare. She wanted her son to be with her, to watch him walk a bride into a new life, to bid him farewell as he traveled to distant lands, always with the intention of returning home.
She could not stand the uncertainty, this not knowing of when or if she would see him again.
He must go, he had said to her. Of course, he had to go. It was the thing to do – the right thing. The right thing? For whom?
This could never be right for her. Men are mad she screamed to herself. What is it about destruction and conquer that fascinates them so?
She tried to hold back the tears, but they came…and he turned to walk away as they welled in her eyes.
He would not let her see him cry. He had to walk away a man.
She Watched Him Walk Away
a short story by