Answers to Questions

The room was just downright dank. Just the rickety chair I was strapped to with a stained, musty table in front of me. Still, I was almost thankful for the one table lamp perched and curved down towards the table top as if pointed purposely to slowly torch the wood; it brought a strange touch of cosy warmth to the room, and of course light, letting my eyes adjust better than in the stonewall cell I had been previously hauled in to.

And how long ago was that? I could feel the stubble under my chin prickle from about four days growth. My sandy combat fatigues were clasping to my skin through the fresh sweat as I struggled in handcuffs to my feet and get my bearings through the blindfold upon being marched in here from my cell. My hands now roped firmly around the back of the chair, the blindfold removed, the door firmly clanged shut.

I wondered how long I had been sat there alone until the heavy door creaked open and two shady figures walk in. The first one closes the door behind them both and stands guard. The other, clearly an officer, wears a beret and a moustache complete with a five o'clock shadow. His uniform is clean apart from penetrating beads of sweat from his torso I could see thanks to the table lamp. He paces up and down, his head forward and chin pointed down to the floor and not looking at me.

Then he stopped directly in front of me taking a soldier-at-ease stance, hands behind his back and looked straight at me. I mirrored his look back at him, only my Adam's apple moving as I swallow, readying myself for what was to come. He calmly and assertively speaks to me with a thick accent.

"If life is a journey, who changes all the road signs?"

I pause for a second, gathering saliva in my dry mouth before responding in the manner we were trained to do. "I'm sorry sir, I cannot answer that question."

He repeats the question with the exact same delivery, as is my reply.

He stands firm, only a solitary bead of sweat running down from his brow and beret, breathing steady before turning on his booted heel, pacing slowly and purposely to his right before turning back on his other heel and to exactly where he was before right in front of me.

"Have you ever seen a baby pigeon?" he then asks, as calm and assertive as with the first question.

"I'm sorry sir, I cannot answer that question."

He pauses, glaring at me, his moustache twitching as his lips tighten and he ponders his next move. Another question.

"What are feelings without emotions?"

With absolutely no change in tone or speed of delivery I replica my reply once again. "I'm sorry sir, I cannot answer that question."

Maintaining his stance he looks down, then slowly turns and paces the other way to the wall to the my left of the table, then back again to where he was, the same stance as if on centre-stage standing on the X. He takes two steps forward and leans on the table over me, propped on the knuckles of his hands. With an affirmed, deep tone of voice he speaks to me once again.

"You're not making life easy, you know that, don't you?"

This time I don't answer. Because his judgement is wrong. Even before I came here on this mission, even before his questions and before my solitary answer, life has never been easy. For some it may well not be difficult, but it is never easy, not for anyone.


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