Tonight we decide to rewatch the movie Beasts of No Nation about children warriors in Africa, set in modern times. Tywana and I have seen it before, but Kayla hasn’t.
Everything takes on a different feel and meaning now. Watching children’s innocence taken away hits harder. The main character in the movie is 10-12 years old when his mother, little brother and little sister escape from their village just before the rebels and the government forces have a major battle there. His father, brother and grandfather are killed in front of his eyes by the government as he looks on and he is recruited into a life of killing, drugs and being sexually abused. There is a scene where his best friend dies as he is carrying him on his back. As he yells out his name over and over screaming trying to reach him across the Divide, I am taken back to that morning when I was doing that with Shayna. She could not be gone. Her fingers were blue, her lips were blue. As shaking her violently. Wake up! I blew air into her unresponsive lungs and it just gurgled back out. Every time I watch a movie and see someone trying to revive a loved one, I know EXACTLY what at character is feeling. My pain for this character is deep because I have some experience now with what he is going through and I hate that.
I’m tired of living in a world where children have to experience what Agu does in Beasts of No Nation. As we watched the movie, Tywana took a break for gelato. Kayla said she couldn’t eat gelato while Agu was going through what he was going through. We reminded her “Kayla, it’s just a movie. It’s over now. The kid that played Agu is home safe and sound.” Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage and we are merely players. The only way I get through this is by telling myself the same thing about this life. We are here playing our parts and when they are over, we leave the set. We don’t die. And, just like in The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, no one knows who is going next, but we know we’re all going to go.
Shayna played her part brilliantly and has left the set. She’s still there in the wings cheering us on, encouraging us to keep up the good work, but some days, like today, it’s just hard. I’m ready to exit stage left any time now.