© 2008 (Fiction, published under the pen name Magdalena Sinalba)
I cringe at the thought of having to face my fears again. It comes twice a year, when the dust of war has settled. The biggest question that lingers is: who won this time?
I am in a war. Forget chivalry and honor. Forget the iron-clad soldiers who would stop at nothing. Forget knights in shining armor who swoon damsels in distress. Forget cheesy punch lines and gallant speeches.
This battle does not possess the flair of sweet victory; of insurmountable loot; of royalties taken as prisoners of war; of bequeathed regal thrones, swords that are made from the most precious metals, and impregnable shields. This is not a fairy tale or an Academy Award sort of movie. This is for real. And this is something that I have to deal with each darned day of my life. I engage in a battle against myself each day. Someone said once that the fact that you have to accept in a battle against yourself is you’ll never know who wins.
I am someone who could pass as a conqueror. Everyone looks up to me as if I could do anything I want to do and be successful in doing it. I could pick a man in a crowd and make him fall for me with such ease that I could make a living out of it. Everyone thinks I am on top of every game I play. Yet deep inside, I am a weakling who, just like everybody else, is forced to face her fears everyday.
This day is one of the last battles that I have to overcome in this stage of war. I pick up my sword as usual, with sweaty hands and trembling knees. I put up my usual courageous face, letting no one smell the stench of fear in me.
I walk towards the familiar gloomy battlefield. I smell the reek of flesh and blood. Some dead and rotten; others are living, breathing creatures whose insides rot with fear, disappointments and failure.
I draw my sword with the last ounce of my strength. I am tired. I’ve fought many battles. I curse every hit and every blood that I draw.
With the last blow, I put down my sword. I collapse to the ground with my head down. My head is spinning with the question: who won???
A piece of paper found its way to me.