They say that it's the soldiers who spill and see the most blood. I would have to openly disagree. While they're the ones who carry the guns and protect and defend our homeland, did they ever stop to see we're the ones striving to save it? They moan of their friends lost in battles they fought side by side, but they can never understand pains I've known. Emotionless, perhaps I amperhaps I need to be. But inside
Never shall they know the pain of losing a friend as I do. The pain of knowing you were the only one who had a chance to save him. And you couldn't
I glanced over my shoulder at the sound of his voice, the other young medic quickly entering our tent. He wasn't like the other soldiers around here, stiff and serious. Instead, he was carefree and wielded a smile on his face. Though happy to see him, I continue to frown, simply nodding my head to him.
He was a newly transferred boy to the front, and he had taken quite a liking to my work. Certainly I wasn't the best medic there was, but a part of me enjoyed hearing how he was fascinated with how I worked and the extent of my knowledge. It was rare compliments came my way. And, though I rarely showed it, I always did like that boy. There was something about that sparkle in his eye when he sat and watched me work and assisted when I needed it that made me smile. Even if slightly.
I knew he had a bright future in the medical field. We all dreamed after the war that we could find ourselves with a guaranteed and high positionas doctors, surgeons, and the like. Friedrichs's determination was clear to me that he would be able to find a job. He was always interested in learning new things and took pride in the work we did. But, he was soft. Though time and time again I promised myself that it wouldn't get in the way, I somehow always knew that it wouldn't last forever.
The blood soaked through the fabric of my jacket, and I reached for more stitching to bind the incisions. The young wounded soldier on the ground beneath me gasped for air out of pain, his eyes already filled with tears and a lack of life. It was times like these I often wished I never signed up for a job like this. Couldn't I have been a simple handyman? Surely there were other crafts I could have taken to
My thoughts are snapped back to reality at the next wail from the young man, and I quickly rummage through my medical bag for assistance. A shot near the wound makes him cry out again, but soon, he's calming and breathing heavy, but his screams have been silenced. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I ignore the fact that now a streak of the soldier's blood lines my forehead. Instead, I continue working, the sounds of gunfire in the distance being steadily drowned out. It was only when another soldier approached me that I glanced up.
I blinked back the smoke which blurred my vision, looking over to the man as he approached. In his arms was another soldier, a face I couldn't quite make out, but the uniform I certainly could. My mouth drew agape as I got to my feet, hurrying over to him, afraid to look the wounded in the face.
The boy was covered in blood, the wound appearing to have been formed in the chest. He tried to speak, but with each breath he took, more of the crimson liquid bubbled at his lips. I knew right away. His lung had been pierced.
"What the hell are you doing standing there?" I barked. "Put him down, for God's sake!"
I scrambled for my medical bag, rummaging through the bandages and other items I found using on a daily basis to my misfortune. Applying pressure to the wound once I managed to locate what I was looking for, I gazed into Friedrichs's eyes. No longer were they bright and full of life as they once had been. Instead, they were fading, and quickly. I couldn't help but raise a hand to his face and gently cup his cheek.
"You'll be alright," I whispered to him, voice shaky.
I suppose it's when fear overtakes you that even the most serious of doctor's can lose their stiff and bred monotony. The fact I was working on possibly my only friend out here made things worse. I started snipping away the cloth of his tunic as I searched to find the bullet, each move causing Friedrichs to hiss in pain. And each hiss brought more blood.
"Stay still," I continued to speak softly, but I knew there was a tremble in my voice. "Friedrichs
I can't work if you keep moving."
A steady hand came to rest upon mine as a worked, causing me to glance over to Friedrichs again. He watched me, eyes filled with the fear of knowing he wasn't to go on, yet the sadness that accompanied it. I paused only for a moment as I watched him, and even when he smiled weakly I couldn't help but feel a twinge in my chest.
," he wheezed with whatever breath he had left, "that
I love her
I didn't cry. That's not what doctors are supposed to do. But when we buried that kid, something inside of me ached. He was a good kid, and a soon-to-be good medic. He was loyal and appreciative of my work and looked up to me. No one ever looked up to me before. Just Friedrichs
and now he was gone. At the mercy of my hands. I couldn't save him, I thought time and time again.
I couldn't save him
That night, I sat in my tent, contemplating how close death truly was to all of us. Not that I feared death, but it was something that lingered in the back of my mind. Between the rain and the bottle of moonshine that rest now empty at my feet, I couldn't help but think of Friedrichs. A young boy who wanted to make something of himself on the front. A young boy who looked for guidance in a foolish medic for a foolish unit that would just end up dying anyway. A young boy who was dead
because of me.
Staring out into the rain, I lowered my head. A medic's job isn't easy. No matter what they tell you. We're supposed to be serious and professional, stiff and well-working. But the thoughts lingered and I couldn't help but realize just how poor of a medic I was. And thus, I cried.