He was five the first time he saw red.
The red was spewing from his mother’s head and father’s chest. He could see they were protecting him from a man with a gun, but what for? Why were they yelling at him to run? He couldn’t understand. Yet he ran with all his might for he didn’t like the idea of having warmth being drained from his body and painting everything around him red.
The second time was during the war.
He joined the army because he just didn’t seem to get along with school. The teachers somehow thought threatening him with failing would make him get along with other students. The other students thought threatening to beat him up would make him follow them. He just didn’t feel anything in particular towards it. From his perspective, an ‘F’ was just a letter, and getting beat up just means he will need to fight back.
So when time came for graduation, he decided he didn’t want to keep getting ‘F’s and fighting other kids. Upon hearing his wish of leaving school, his Uncle recommended the Army. Actually, what the Uncle said was more or less “I’ll be damned if you flinch when you face a bullet”. He was right. When the bullets from the enemy shot his companions down, he didn’t flinch. He just kept crawling forward until the commander ordered retreat.
The battlefield was red. Every last inch of it. He found it very repulsive. He hated the fact his fellow soldiers had to leave him because of a silly war for money. He hated the fact everyone else is crying but not for the same reason as him. Everyone seemed worried about their own fate, if they will die as well, but he was weary. He stood there in solitude, tears streaming down his face, crying because that’s what everyone else did. He had no idea what people thought, and frankly, he could not care less. All he knew was the fact his best friend is lying there cold and there is that damned red.
They dragged him onto the plane. He wanted to stay and fight. Fight for everything he has ever lost and everything he has to lose. But the government has called for surrender, the war has ended.
Years later, a fragile old man limped around the stone cemetery that holds everyone he ever held dear. Sweeping, day after day, the graves of those that were never permitted to wash the red off their body. Adults find him curious, and little kids are scared of this strange old man, but as death greeted this man that felt no fear, he finally made peace and understood.