I've been waging a mostly silent war for almost four years now. It's been fought in the shadows, in the wee hours of the morning, and, rarely, even in broad daylight. I've learned to anticipate the attacks, but I'm not always successful at evading the enemy. They tend to lurk in out-of-sight places and around blind corners, waiting for an opportunity to ambush me. We've had many skirmishes over the years, but no one's been injured. Last night, however, first blood was finally drawn.
I stepped into a raging cacophony, an ambassador seeking peace between two battling factions, both of which were unrelated to my ongoing war. I opened my mouth for a grand diplomatic speech and that's when it happened. An unseen enemy had set an awful trap and I stepped right into it.
I grimaced, thinking it a mere annoyance, and then limped to the front where the most intense fighting was. I carried with me a prepared treaty; both parties seemed agreeable, so a ceasefire was called and the soldiers from both sides retired peacefully. I back-tracked to the site of the trap and disarmed it for future missions in case they proved necessary.
When I arrived back at the embassy, I examined my wound. It was more grievous that I first thought: a deep but narrow opening in my foot. It hurt some, bled much more. I called up the infirmary and they dispatched a triage nurse. I was bandaged and restricted to light duty for the duration of the deployment. Relieved that I would not suffer serious harm due to injury but also slightly embarrassed, I retired to my bunk for some much needed R and R.
Another, less entertaining version of the story, or maybe even a translation of the first is this: I stepped into the boys' room to help settle them into bed and onto one of their toys: a sharp-edged plastic train. The blood, however, was quite real. Maybe next time I'll have shoes on.