• A woman stands aside on the street corner. Eleven o’clock at night, she’s dressed in nothing but lace and sandals of ice sickles. Aching, she awaits the coming onslaught of men craving for body.

    Unable to speak freely, she takes everything in, willingly yet unwillingly. She’ll bend over for a dollar more; she’ll touch him there, but at a cost; he can pull her hair, call her his whore, abuse her for his pleasure – all for the right money – always money – cold, hard cash in the whore’s lingerie. And when the sun rises, light is shone upon her indecency for all to see, for all to cringe. “Baby, stay away from her,” a mother says to her child, “She has no values. She sells her body for manicure money.”

    All that “manicure money” that woman had worked up in one night, spent in one sitting – feeding her children; buying them clothes; paying her rent; paying for utilities… life is a battlefield. And she is losing.

    All the while, a man too is struggling for his life. Three o’clock in the morning, he’s covered head to toe in dirt, sweat, and blood. Helmet worn tight, gun pressed to his chest, he awaits the coming onslaught of men craving for murder.

    One, two, three men he has killed. Running for his life in a hail of gunfire, he has claimed one too many lives to save his own. He wonders if he’ll make it through the night before he gives returning home to his family a chance to cross his mind. And when the sun rises and he steps back onto the soil of his homeland, light is shone upon his heroism for all to see. And all that this man remembers as his country salutes him are the long nights he spent wondering if his country even remembered him; if he’d make it through ‘til sunrise; and the notion that would perhaps haunt him for the rest of his life: Is that woman whose husband I have taken living at peace? Is that son whose father I have stolen feeling the absence of his role model? And that same woman, who so pointed her accusing finger at the body-selling woman, turns to her child and says with incontrovertible pride, “Would you look at that, baby: a hero in the making.”

    In truth, is the woman who sells her body really any different from the man who killed fathers and brothers to return to his own? Doing the socially unacceptable to stay alive and survive – is that not what this murderous war hero has done as well? Or are his primitive means of survival hidden behind his golden soldier label? Does it mean nothing that this man has robbed a love-struck woman and an innocent son of his model father and her beloved husband forever for his survival? Or does it mean more that this woman has slept with an incredulous amount of strangers for her survival? Has she truly hurt anyone? Has he truly saved anyone?

    Life is simply a battlefield that neither man nor woman can win.