The Abstract Obstacle

Nilüfer Doğanca

At last, the hospital appeared through the clouds of the city. His heart was already beating too fast, and suddenly it stopped for a moment. The enormous, rectangular building was standing before his eyes, with people who are oblivious to everything inside.

He barely made eye contact with his “brothers”, the other soldiers. They were all fascinated with what they had just seen. The expression of happiness and satisfaction on their faces was real, beyond real, they were the expression, they became the expression.

He struggled to understand his feelings. The emotion that he had to feel and that he actually felt at that moment were different. First, he felt guilty about that difference. Then, he questioned himself for the reason of his guilt. In the deep of his heart, he knew that this guilt was unnecessary. However, he couldn’t admit it to himself. Then, there was a piece of pride. After all, he was the one who was chosen as the pilot of the helicopter despite his young age, seventeen. There were hundreds of soldiers in the military who would do anything to have that honor. Besides, he carried out a successful flight, which meant that after completing this mission, he was going to be generously rewarded.

By this time, he was almost above the hospital. Suddenly, he saw a little shape running through the hospital gate. It was a little girl, apparently less than ten years old. Afterwards, she left the hospital with a man. The man was seriously injured. He didn’t have his left arm and was barely walking because of his crippled leg. Nonetheless, they were both smiling and hugging each other in the garden of the hospital. At that moment, he remembered his own family, particularly his seven-year-old little sister. Then he realized, October 17th, it was her birthday. He asked himself how many birthdays he had missed. He hadn’t seen his family for five years. The face of his sister appeared in his mind, smiling. Then he pictured his mother. She wasn’t smiling at all, she was just staring at him, with no emotion. He tried to bring back to his memory the reason for leaving his family and joining the army. He couldn’t.

He heard a voice calling into this sense of the unknown. It was one of his “brothers”. It was time. His eyes fell on the little girl again. She was entering the hospital. He wanted to scream at her, to stop her. He couldn’t. His hand moved to the lever without his will. The air was filled with excitement. The face of his mother appeared in his mind once again. Then, it transformed into the face of his commander. With a strong, tough temperament, he was ordering him to lift the lever. The commander’s face disappeared, and this time the little girl appeared in its place. Unlike the other people he saw in his mind, she was smiling, just like his sister. Then he heard his “brothers” shouting at him again. He saw his sister, then the commander, then his mother, then the little girl, then his mother, then his sister, then the little girl, then the commander — he lifted the lever.

He saw the little girl still smiling at him, and the shouts of his “brothers” cleared his mind, destroyed the little girl’s face. He looked at the hospital: fire. A hell as loud as thunder. A concussion as strong as an earthquake. Did he do that? By only moving a simple lever? His eyes began to burn, not because of the fire above the ground but because of the flames in his mind. He had followed orders. These orders were his own hell in his mind.