I fold the dinner napkins and place them on the dining table. This life, my life, is just as it was yesterday and the day before.
We talk, my little group, family and friends. “Tomorrow, here,” I say. And when they arrive, we hug. I pop a bottle, pour bubbly. We sit on the balcony, talk our talk, reminisce, laugh.
Earlier, today, the U.S. dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan. The. Mother. Of. All. Bombs.
I think of Afghanistan and Afghans as I remove plates from the cabinet just as I thought of Afghanistan and Afghans as I folded the napkins.
What’s left? What’s left in the area where a bomb that size explodes? I don’t know shit. I can’t imagine. We can’t imagine.
My motions are perfunctory, the folding of napkins, preparing the cheese board, crushing garlic, grating this and that, whatever. I’ve done this, these same activities so many times and for as long as I can remember. This life, just as it was yesterday and the day before.
My guy asks, “What is that?”
“Sweet potatoes, roasted in coconut oil,” I say.
What does a 22,000-lb bomb explosion smell like?
What does the detonation of a 22,000-pound bomb sound like?
How can this happen?
How can we unleash barbarism on other human beings? On our planet?
I think of Afghan mothers, fathers, their children. What can they say to their children? How can they promise tranquility, hope, a future, security? How can they say, “Everything will be alright?” How can anything ever be alright again?
How can it be alright for us? How can anything be alright when the U.S. is the greatest purveyor of enduring savagery?
I want to scream. I want to scream. To separate from this. This government, this country.
The world shouldn’t have to suffer one more day of American exceptionalism.
I clear the table, put the dishes in the sink, stare at the water running into the drain. Drain the swamp.
I want to scream.
Fuck you. Fuck you, Trump. Fuck you. Fuck all of you with your might-makes-right bellicosity. Fuck Obama. Fuck Hillary Clinton. Fuck George Bush. Fuck Dick Cheney. Fuck all the fucking warmongers. Fuck corporate news. Fuck the war industry. Fuck the war profiteers.
Fuck the United States of Fucking America.
Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore.