Paul pulled the potato plant and some dirt feel into the ground, with a beautiful soft noise. The potatoes had grown decently big and so had the rest of the food he had grown in the back garden. From there, he could not see anyone else, only the shadow formed by the house and the hills that created several ups and downs that got to the sea itself. But the sea was very far and in this inland territory only the cold wind that remained from the past winter swept the land, as if washing away any impurities in this world.
He pulled a basket, put the potatoes inside with other fresh products, and took it inside the house. There he washed them carefully, cut off the parts that didn’t have any use and then started cooking. Adam got there just in time with meat from the market on the other side of the valley. He seemed tired so Paul told him to sit down and relax as he finished preparing dinner. Outside, the sun had already left the sky and the night was dark and silent except for the snoring of Adam who had fallen asleep in the couch.
Paul wasn’t in a hurry with dinner, especially because he had to prepare everything enough time to kill all the bacteria and because the meat was thick and took some time to cook. When he was finally done, Paul went to Adam and softly kissed his forehead. As if it had happened in a fairy tale, Adam opened his eyes and smiled because of the kiss and because of the fabulous smell invading the small house.
They sat down to eat some delicious steamed vegetables with thick slices of fried meat and a side of mash potatoes that tasted different from the one they had known in their childhood but it was still good. As he always did, Adam grabbed one of Paul’s hands, his left one, and kept on eating like that all night. It was something he had started doing when they first moved there and it was just a way to ensure they would never be separated. Adam was extremely serious about it and once they had a fight over that, because Paul had told him that he couldn’t eat properly like that. That night, they didn’t sleep together.
But this time it was different. When dinner was done, Adam helped Paul wash the dishes and went to bed at the same time. They took off their clothes; each one tired of their day, and just hugged to sleep. But differently than all other nights, a horrible sound woke them up in the middle of the night. It was a sound coming from a machine and there were not many machines in this region. They felt the ground shake, which was what woke them up, and the horrible sound of a plane going over the valley. They had heard planes before but this one different, much worse, as if the plane was a horrible beast of some kind. They held each other after the sound had finished, thinking of what it could mean.
The next day in town, Adam talked to many villagers and even to some fisherman that travelled daily to the coast and the port to sell their products. Apparently most people had heard the same thing and everyone had been awaken by it. The first thing they said was that the country was neutral, at least officially, and that they didn’t allow one of the factions to use their territory to do nothing. So either the plane came all the way from one of the continents or their government had just betrayed the neutrality that had been their main characteristic for so long.
The truth was that no one really saw where the plane came from or where did it go but it was flying really low. The following days some more things happened: many witnesses saw red lights, balls of fire, over the ocean but very far at the same time. It was like a weird light show and there was a sound with it but because of he distance it was hard to say what it was. Then some farmers found tank tracks in their fields but they had never heard any of them passing around. Actually, the army didn’t even have tanks or planes or anything.
Adam decided they should keep living their normal lives, not minding a lot about these events. Or at least that’s what he told Paul. But at nights he would often wake up sweating from nightmares involving tortures and lights like the ones over the ocean and Paul would ask what was wrong and Adam wouldn’t say. They fought over it a couple of times but mostly they just held each other and tried to be supportive and close, because anything could happen.
The explanation to everything was written in pieces of paper that had been distributed all over the country. Their nation had accepted the use of several bases by one of the factions and they would use the country to fight a battle against the other faction, to finally crush them for good. Their land would not be caught under fire, only been use as a previous layover for every plane, boat and other war vehicle, even tanks that did target practice in a wasteland north of the valley. That explained the explosions many people had heard.
So the war had never ended and it was apparently on an important stage, on a decisive point that made even change the face of the world. This secretly excited Adam because even after so many years away from the fight, he was still eager to fight for what he believed and for what he had done so much so many years ago. But Paul just didn’t address the subject. The only thing he said was that if they all wanted to keep on killing themselves, it was fine by him but he didn’t wanted nothing to do with any of that. He didn’t want the war to come to the village and that was it.
Adam didn’t told Paul but he started to have meetings with many people from the region and they were already discussing if they should also join the fight and how would they do it and why. They had the tremendous chance that the authorities were so busy these days that a meeting in a farm wasn’t important enough for them to attend and tear apart. They would have done it but now the government was using all the resources it had to make their “guests” feel at home. Everyone knew the situation was a disguised invasion and that their country had kneeled without even the chance of fighting.
Paul kept to himself. He started concentrating only in his garden and in fishing in the lake nearby and doing all these things to make his home the best part of the world. He would share with some villagers his discoveries about how diets could be better so to keep everyone strong during the winter and during the summer too. And what he started to do was to take long walks, always when Adam was about to come back from his meeting in town. He knew he would want to tell someone about it and he just didn’t want to hear about it. He’d rather have their neighbors or their dog help Adam with that.
Their relationship became very tense and that was very strange for both of them as they had never been in such tension. They had been living together for over three years now, year in which they had build a home together and had found the other to be that person they wanted in their lives forever. They had been through hell and back to get to that valley and have everything that they enjoyed in their daily lives. They had fought together and suffered together and now it was supposed to be a time of peace for them, even if the world was falling apart.
But the sense of responsibility in Adam was too strong. So one day he followed Paul to the lake, where he went to take a walk and get away from everything, and tried to talk to him. He told Paul, almost yelling, that he needed to go back to the fight because he felt he had to finish what he started, he had to make the west faction pay for what they had done back home, for what they had allowed to happen to them and to the world. They were destroying everything everyone held dear and the world would never be the same if someone didn’t stop them.
Paul answered that he didn’t wanted the world to go back to what it was. He didn’t want the past because he hated it. He reminded Adam than in that glorious past they would have been hanged if they dared to live together, in that past people were also deprived of everything and lacked so much. Fighting for revenge wouldn’t change anything, no matter who won or how they won. Everything was always going to be the same, war or not.
For a whole week they didn’t talk to each other and Adam even chose to sleep in the couch. But they loved each other. They couldn’t do that for long because it tore them apart slowly. The war raged on and they were trapped in the middle of the fire, not knowing what to do or where to go.