Exploring life without Providence

Killers

“When I see those ads for Sniper, I think about that boy in Morocco, outside the fence.”

A long pause, and then, “Yes, I can imagine,” she replies.

The recurring image of a young goat herder rises again in his mind, moving probably at random, but too close to the perimeter for his comfort.

Behind him stands the small blockhouse, bristling with antennas, that hides his comrades and their listening devices from prying eyes. Before him his target, the incinerator in which he is to destroy the shredded paper he carries. He will burn it, then stir the ashes until nothing can be reconstructed, and finally wash it all out to ensure nothing escapes complete obliteration.

But the boy troubles him. Carrying a side arm, under orders to shoot anyone who attempts to breach the perimeter, he envisions the scenario he most dreads.

He wonders just how old this child is – older than he looks perhaps? Is it mere curiosity that causes the boy to watch him, or something more deliberate? Is he actually alone, as he appears to be?

How will he interpret a move closer to the fence? How will he know what kind of move is dangerous, and what moves are totally unthreatening to his mission?

Worse still is not knowing how he himself will behave. Will he draw his weapon, if he becomes too uncomfortable with the boy’s approach to the fence line? Will he gesture with it to warn the boy away even before he touches it? Will he know the difference between curiosity, or even a desire to talk, and a serious effort to scale the fence?

How quickly could this boy get inside, if he is seriously intent on getting the bags of shredded paper?

Shredded paper – balanced against the life of a child! How can this be?!?

The image of his smoking gun, and the child lying outside the fence, alarm him. His heart racing, he shakes his head to clear his mind — shake off the fearful image that he does not yet know will stay with him for the rest of his life.

************

It was also an image he did not know would eventually dissolve a 40-year anger; would become, on the Golan Heights, a key to unlock his heart, allowing him to forgive other men he had locked outside its perimeter.

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