I wonder if he ever hears them. When the president of the United States is alone in his bedroom at the end of the day and he turns off the light, I wonder if he hears them. Does he ever hear somewhere in his head the cries of a soldier as he lays dying? Many say that a wounded and dying soldier will cry out for his mother. I imagine that’s right. I imagine that’s exactly what goes through a dying soldier’s mind, his mother. As he feels his life slipping away, why wouldn’t he want to cling to the woman you gave him that life. She was his source. I wonder if the president ever hears that cry and if he doesn’t, how does he avoid it?
Perhaps he might hear the cries and screams of the tiny children who lay dying in a land far away from the presidential bedroom. Or maybe it’s the sound of mothers and fathers caressing the bodies of their lifeless children. What must those sounds be like? Do they curse the man whose soldiers dropped the bomb or fired the shot? Do they wail at the top of their lungs or do they suffer the deep and retching sobs as only a mother or father can? Do you think those sounds ever make their way to the president’s pillow? How can he avoid hearing this sad concert of sadness?
Maybe there are reasons the president doesn’t hear the mournful cry of the dead and dying, the living and hurting. Maybe he’s praying. Maybe he prays out loud. Maybe he prays as loud as he can to drown out the voices and the sobbing.. Maybe he prays himself to sleep each night and maybe he thinks if he prays loud enough and long enough the cries will fall silent. If he prays, what is he praying for? He’s probably praying that the voices will stop and leave him alone. Will his prayers be answered? They won’t.
Another morning will come, another day will begin. He will have managed to make it through another night. The sun will rise and he may escape the darkness and the voices for one more day. But with the new day will come more voices, more deaths, more pain, more suffering and those new voices will await him on his pillow tonight. Tonight there will be more voices and they will be louder. He will need to pray louder and longer than he did last night. Will he be able to avoid the voices forever? Cries from the darkness never go away. No matter how loud or long he prays, the voices will be patient and they will linger until one day he will be unable to pray any longer or any louder and then he will hear them. He’ll hear them and he may go mad, because once he listens to the sounds of their pain, he will hear it forever. The next cry in the darkness may be his own.