Flumes Vol. 5: Issue 1, Summer 2020 - Page 24

like on the screen right now, imagines a pilot in a Ground Control Station on the other side of the world watching them, finger on the trigger, waiting for the strike approval to come down the kill chain.

“He’s got the whole world in His hands...

”She listens to the voices of her children—her beautiful children—who are more innocent than she could ever fathom. She listens to the laughter of her loving husband who she would be lost without. She imagines a room of stone-faced officers weighing the pros and cons of a targeted strike, a sleep-deprived intel officer crunching a Collateral Damage Estimate, an anonymous pilot who’s only trying to advance his career and provide for his family and do what he was told was right, who won’t hesitate for a second to pull the trigger the moment the order drops.

“He’s got the itty-bitty baby in His hands...”

The strike is approved. The pilot pulls the trigger.

“He’s got a-you and me brother in His hands...

”The pilot counts down the seconds to impact. Twenty. Fifteen. Ten.

“He’s got a-you and me sister in his hands...

”The missile hurtles closer and closer, their car growing larger and larger.

“He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

Sara gets out of the car. The engine is still running. She doesn’t bother to close her door.

“Mom? What’s wrong?”

But Sara can’t say. Even if she could, she couldn’t. It’s too much for anyone to understand.

She paces the curb, her hands behind her head, her heart racing, her lungs begging for air.

Her husband says something to her, but she doesn’t hear him.

Her head is spinning. It’s all too much. She sits down on the curb and lowers her head and takes a long, deep breath, and then for the first time in as long as she can remember, she cries. The floodgates open, a career’s worth of tears streaming down both cheeks as she sobs on the side of the road.

The first hand touches her on the head. She recognizes it as her husband’s and cries even harder. Then she feels a hand on each of her shoulders, and then she hears them praying for her. Slowly, the tears start to dry, then her sobbing trails off and she can hear them pleading to God for her to find peace and reassurance and comfort and tranquillity and guidance and understanding and all the other things that she’s lost. And even though she no longer believes that prayer means anything at all, this prayer means the world to her.

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