A single trickle rolled down his cheek and landed on the back of his hand.
Despite his noiseless attempt of trying and failing to be quiet; a lot of people were looking at him. But did he care? No. Everyone seated was facing the similar grief; the loss of someone they knew and loved. Thinking about what everyone else was thinking, was probably the last thing on his mind.
To be honest, he should have known. Or at least expected it one time or another. It wasn’t morbid thinking; just a reality. When you are in the army, life expectancy is numbered. You’re going to war, and saving your country. Casualties are expected.
But even though, it hurts to lose someone close to you.
Dad. The very thought brought a fresh wave of tears. He no longer had his buddy. No longer someone he could share his problems with. His mum had left him and his little sister a long time ago; so it was just the three of them. But that was enough.
His little sister didn’t know. She was alone at home and this wouldn’t be a way he would choose to let her know.
He often spoke about it. Both of them did. You can’t help but think about the last time you get to see your loved ones and hold them and talk to them; right before leaving.
“If I go, I want you to take me back home. Whatever you can find of me. Any piece, doesn’t matter. I want to be taken home and then cremated”. He was adamant. “And you tell your little sister personally. No telephone calls. My last time, I would like to be with my family. I want to be home”. His words seem oddly far away now.
They had a day before going back home. Everything was fine. Then suddenly, one shot, one life; all gone. With some courage, he glanced up towards the people resting around the coffin. Many were his dad’s friends. His brothers in arms. They had lost their brother; and the grief etched on their face was unbearable to watch. But, somehow it reminded him that he was not the only one suffering.
Sparing a glance at the box, a rush of memories hit him. They were gliding, and his dad seemed intent on making it a special day for the three of them. He was only twelve years old as he and his sister screeched with happiness seeing their dad high
up soaring in the air. He was going to work the next day, and somehow he needed his children to have a good time.
“If I don’t come back, I don’t want you to feel any regret. I did what I had to. Someday you will understand. But always remember, I’ll be flying over your heads looking after you two. Okay?” he had said looking at them directly. They were far too young to understand, but always knew. He mind flashed to his sister.
She will be devastated. She idolized him. She would be heartbroken. But she would accept and understand. Just like he did.
A sharp ray of sunlight got him straight in the eye. He adjusted the his position of seating, avoiding the gazes of everyone in the vicinity, as he looked outside. “Almost home” he thought to himself as he looked at the horizon line.
Just as he thought it, the clouds cleared; he was twelve again seeing his dad gliding beside the plane, now carrying his body.
Sparing no thought around, he broke down in the sorrow of losing his only parent and his best friend.
For my last post click Hand Made – The Best Kind of Gift
For my last Storytime post click A New Start – (Story)