As I look up from taking a sip of my beer I see this large shadow through the round cloudy window of the tattered wooden door. Not knowing who this mysterious shadow could be as it??™s a Friday night the whole town should be in this pub right now as usual. The door creaks open and you could hear a pin drop as this awkward contrast of a large muscle ripped frame with a dainty young face enters. But there is something different about this dainty young face. It??™s not bright and bubbly as a young face should be it is sad and hesitant to stop looking at the ground. His face is dead cold, no emotion showing. His god like body is almost bursting out of his grey singlet. The dog tags around his neck suggest he could kill you in more ways than one. The boxing kangaroo show he does call this country home but has clearly never been to this town of ours as there isn??™t a tattoo parlor for miles.
Every eye in the room watches this man head down, shoulders slouched slowly walking towards the bar. The murmurs start coming from everywhere as he goes to sit down at an empty table by himself. He throws down beer after beer as if they were water. He has not said a word, nor made eye contact with anyone. As the only police officer in town walked over to the man he asked ???what??™s your name son??? the man didn??™t reply, not even looking at the officer he just kept drinking his beer. The officer repeated the question.
???Archibald Hart.???
???You??™re not from around here are you Mr. Hart??? questioned the officer.
???Does it look like I??™m from around here??? Archibald scoffed in a sarcastic tone.
???Well why the hell are you stepping foot in this little peaceful town of ours??? Demanded the officer.
???If I had a choice, I surely wouldn??™t be here. But when your commanding officer tells you to go and live in some town you??™ve never heard of, YOU DO IT!
As the officer walks away in disgust at the young man??™s lack of respect, whispers begin again. It??™s obvious that the solider can hear them all. He is highly trained to hear the faintest of movements on the battle field, it??™s not like he won??™t hear people in a small pub.
As the night goes on no one attempts to find out any more about young Mr. Hart, until little 5 year old Hayley Florence, daughter of a hair dresser walks up to his table, jumps up to sit next to him and starts drawing. She looks up at him with the sharpest smile and nothing, not even an emotionless solider like Archibald couldn??™t smile back. ???where do you live??? wondered Hayley
???I live in Per??¦ oh I guess I live here now??? answered Archibald.
???Why did you move here??? asked Hayley.
???Well it??™s a very long story and it??™s probably not very appropriate for a little girl like you??? he replied.
Hayley??™s mother goes up to the table pleading with Hayley to leave Mr. Hart alone, but he insists its fine. Archibald suggests that Hayley??™s mother sits down with her daughter and him. As I??™m sitting here surveying the situation making sure everything is alright I hear Mrs. Florence ask some very personal questions. She tries and tries to find out ever intricate detail of his life. He is hesitant to answer but after Hayley finely falls asleep I heard every subtle detail of his life and why he ended up here.
I listen to him explain that he was in the Special Forces. He was his team??™s leader. They were sent out on a mission to find and capture an Afghan rebel leader. The mission was going to plan. They had entered the leader??™s hideout without being detected. As they moved up towards the house, they entered inside the house exactly as the anticipated, however they got the inside details of the house wrong. He had to think of a new plan right there and then. He saw stairs. He sent half his men up the stairs and the rest with him would patrol down stairs. They knew there would be more than just the rebel leader inside the house but what happened next, no one could have expected. As the men going up stairs got about half way up machine guns started firing from everywhere. The bright light of machine gun rounds lit up the whole house. Finally the rounds stopped and the lights came on. 5 men lay dead on the stairs with proud Australian blood spilt everywhere. At the top of the stairs no one could be seen. Instead of removing the 5 men who were still alive, he ordered them to continue the mission. They continued to patrol down stairs. They were too close to give up now.
As l sit here and listen to him tell his story, I??™m very proud of this young man as he was giving his life for his, well for my country. At this point of time I couldn??™t imagine what was going through this young man??™s head. But I do believe pride got the best of him in that situation.
He said that patrolling the bottom floor after watching 5 of his men die was the scariest thing he??™s ever done. They couldn??™t find anyone on the bottom floor, until they entered through a door and machine guns started their deathly rattle again. Like before once they stopped the lights came on. He stood there covered in blood looking at 4 men dead on the floor around his feet. Now he knew it was time to leave the house. He sprinted for the closest exit. He could hear the spitting rounds chasing after him. He escaped the house and was running for his life towards the helicopter that dropped them to the house of hell. He was about 20 metres away from the helicopter when he felt the piercing thud of bullets ripping the flesh of his back. He said that the last thing he thought about before he blacked out was his 9 team members and mates that he led to their deaths.
When we eventually woke up he was back as the base camp hospital. The commanding officer came in and told him that there was nothing he could have done, the rebel leader had been tipped off about the mission. He was also told that he would be sent home and relocated because his services were no longer required.
When he got back in the country, his failed mission was all over the news. He felt responsible for the death of 9 innocent and great young men. He felt like he owed this country and that he didn??™t deserve to call this country home any more.
My heart sank when I heard him say this. He has risked his life to protect everyone in this country with no recognition. He is the closest thing possible to a super hero. What have I done to earn respect and the right to live in this country compared to him. This young man right in front of me is my hero and should be everyone??™s hero.
As I get up to leave he has no idea I heard every word he said and the new found respect and admiration I have for him. As I walk past him I simply stick my hand out and shake his hand.

Leave a Comment