The Orange Dress: Rules of Engagement

The Geneva Convention outlines certain rules for warfare.  The most well known rules protect women, children civilians, and non-combatants.  Medics and religious persons, such as priests or pastors  regardless of which army they are serving, are also protected.  Prisoners of war are to be fed and treated respectfully, and returned to their respective countries once the conflicts are over.

“Dum-dum” or expanding hollow point rounds are banned, because the damage they inflict on human flesh is too difficult for medics and surgeons to treat.  Imagine a corn kernel super-heating and bursting inside of a steak at three-thousand feet per second, and instead of soft fluffy popcorn it’s hot molten lead bouncing around, ricocheting and turning every piece of flesh into shredded dog meat.

Really think about that for a moment: there exists a bullet too lethal for war, and people on both sides of the war have agreed not to use it.  If people can honor rules of war, why not rules of love?

We had rules for our relationship.  Rules in place for when the fighting got ugly and muddy in the trenches.    Rules for when emotion overtook logic, or planning, or history, or love.  They were simple rules:

– Don’t sleep with other people.
– Don’t say it’s over, unless it’s truly over.
– Don’t ignore phone calls.
– Don’t block social media.
– Respond, answer and acknowledge.

and there was one rule specifically for me:

– Don’t write about us.

She never wanted to air our dirty laundry.  But there is no “our” dirty laundry anymore.  There is just my dirty laundry, and her dirty laundry, and both are being washed quite separately now in different washing machines.  Mine still carries the wounded stink upon it of dried blood and unanswered questions.  And it’s with that constant musky shameful smell in my nose I realize I am holding on to a bygone time, and a set of rules that only one of us are abiding by.  The only way to get clean at this point, are harsh chemicals or sunshine.

…and I choose the sunshine.

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