The Last Letter by Prithiva Sharma

Steve,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you dissolved into dust, when an incomplete whisper just receded into silence. I saw it, I was there, but before I could reach out to you with my fingertips, I lost my spine. I had nothing to give anymore.

They say, all of them, that it started with World War II. With Johann Schimdt/Nazism/ProjectRebirth/power////

But it didn’t. It started with Steven Grant Rogers, skinny sick asthmaticTM. It started with a mother who bandaged her son every time he came home with bruises and cracks, but never once told him to stop. It started with pneumonia and so many other health issues that I can’t name. It started with a best friend who told the skinny asthmatic that he is tired of fighting his fights, but still followed him into territories of possible death.

It started with you. But it doesn’t have to end with you.

Because you froze, Steve. You went down with the Valkyrie but this war, and this desire for power and hegemony did not. It would have continued even if you had never woken up, it just would have never been challenged.

They say that Ares is the God of War in Greek myths. That Ares survives on war. Ultron once said so do you; it might be true, because you were made a soldier and once you’re a soldier, your entire life becomes a battlefield. You can’t undo it. You have to have a war because it is the only thing that you know, that is the only place you were taught to belong to.

They name hurricanes after people. I think they shouldn’t. One person is never that much destruction; it is always people – plural. It is always an entire clan/community/country which destroys. It is not the crime of one man, it is the crime of every man.

You woke up from a war, you woke up to a war, and they shoved you into another. And then another. And then another. Is it even clear whose wars you’re fighting now?

You led a family back then. Now you lead a time which you’re trying to make your family (you succeeded, for you found a home in at least two people, but that’s two out of billions). The 21st Century hasn’t been kind to you, so I don’t expect you to be kind to it. You were kind anyway.

I know they shunned you for that one time you acted for yourself. But for someone who lost not only all his past but his future as well, it is not wrong for you to hold onto a thread which can be your hope.

This isn’t me telling you that I am thankful for what you have done; this is me reminding you that you are Steve Rogers, professional alleyway fighter from Brooklyn. You never were Captain America, because Cap is a costume, an icon, an ideal and fighting your asthma while fighting guys twice your size is by no means ideal. You punched Adolf Hitler in the face 200 times not because of that new body, but because you hate bullies and have no sense of self preservation.

You are not the atlas. The world isn’t on your shoulders. It is not on you to right every wrong. You don’t have to keep everything hanging together; you just need to keep yourself hanging together.

You once told me I was worth it all, that what I did wasn’t me. It took 30 sessions of therapy and 2 playlists of motivational songs for me to understand, but you were right. 

I might not know myself very well right now, but I still know you like the back of my hand (thank god you were imprinted on the back of my right hand, else I would have cracked Hydra’s skull for destroying my left). 

Remember this, and I am telling you this with all the heart I have left and all the soul that I do not; there may be a war out there, but it is not your war anymore. It never was.

This is me, sitting in my hut with my goats making noise outside (I need to feed them soon) (one of them is named Steve), because I was just told the fight is on its way. That is how I know you are on your way too; you always come with a fight.

This may or may not be the end of the world. But this can’t be the end of you, simply because you decide to be stupid and jump into it headfirst.

You have yourself now, you have me. Fight for me, but don’t die fighting. There are only so many times nature resurrects, only so many second chances.

I love you, in every way. I always have. The good thing about this century is that I can now tell you without getting killed for it.

I’m with you till the end of the line.

I’m still following that kid from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight.

Yours, 
James Buchanan (Bucky) Barnes,
Your right-in-command.

Moviestore Collection/REX Shutterstock

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