Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Waiting - a short story

Waiting – a short story





Waiting. She waited for him and she knew that he would come. No matter what, he would come. They said that after the war, they would meet at their favorite coffee shop where they first met. He was a decorated marine in her eyes, and an American hero for all she knew. He represented the pique masculinity and the gleam for his shining teeth would make her heart quiver. But apart from his physique, she fell in love with the man he was at heart, and it wasn’t the love for his country that made him so emotionally desirable; his genuine kindness towards others around him is what sparked her interest in him. Even though she didn’t know him well, that scrawny middle-schooler would always stand up for his friends when they were getting bullied. He usually would’ve ended up getting beaten to a pulp, but he would still stand up for them. But the thing that really made her fall in love with him is the fact that he never made a scene if he was bullied and used to shrug them off like it wasn’t anyone’s business. That’s what she loved most about him, and although they may have not spent as much as time as they would’ve liked, he was – and always will be – her cornerstone.
It’s funny how things would work out in the end. She wouldn’t have, in a million years, thought that she was the man for him. It was not until a fateful encounter between them in a coffee shop where he worked that he had finally had the guts to ask her out. And she was so glad that he did. His father was crippled, which had made money sparse within the family so he had to get a job to help his father have a somewhat decent lifestyle. This only made her love him more.

*

Pearl Harbor was a navy ship that most marines would be proud to work on as an American soldier, protecting the nation was a matter of pride. But to him it didn’t matter, at least not anymore. The bombardment of planes, destruction, and injury was not he stood for. His vision of protecting his country seemed more heroic when looking at the posters ‘America needs you’. It was only when you are on the battlefield that you realize that it is the most cowardly thing governments can do; perilously putting the innocent in risk for feuds that don’t matter. This is what happens when one man thinks he is above all else and has the power to command thousands and million troops with a slight nod of his head. That is not justice, and that definitely is not what the founding fathers were hoping for. “War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace”. Indeed, whoever said that was absolutely right. This is not justice, just torcher.

But that didn’t matter. Everyone was too worried about surviving the genocide, hoping to dear God that they can see their children, wives and girlfriends one last time and tell them ‘I love you’. So did he. It was kind of funny, he knew these were his last moments, and even if he did survive, the hell he had experienced would never be erased from his memory. No one wants to live with the pain he had experienced and no one should. It was ironic how his girlfriend had made him origami crane before he had left, a kind gift cultivated from the culture from a country he was aiding to destroy.


He only just wished that he had the guts to talk to her sooner Her golden, oily hair, her brave soul and her endless kindness just melted his heart. And he only wished her the best in life, and that if he – by some miracle – can escape this wretched place he would vow to spend the rest of life with her. But he knew that was quite next to impossible, and that she found happiness with whomever she would like to spend the rest of her life with and that – if it was even possible – loved her as much as he did. That crane reminded him of her, and had tried to keep it intact for as long as he could. There were smudges here and there, but in this environment it was almost impossible to keep it perfect. But he tried anyways, as it was a memento from her and since these were probably his last moments, he forgot about trying to preserve it and gripped it as hard as he could and pressed it against his heart. That was when the artillery fires, the smell of gunpowder and smoke seemed to slow, as if time had slowed. His fondest memories of his flashed before his eyes, and most of them with her. He didn’t cry, but felt happy that he had met her and was just happy to have her in his life, no matter for how long. And not before long, he was just another man from the many holding their most prized possession in their cold dead hands.
*
But her heart had ached the very moment she woke up in the morning. Something was not right, but she still made her way to meet him, even if it was the last thing she would do. She knew something wasn’t right. She tried very hard to shun past media like the newspaper, television and chit-chat of people on the street about war over the past few weeks, no matter how impossible it seemed. She didn’t need to know if he would be able to come back, she was no fool to the harsh ‘ties of war and that – even slight – that he wouldn’t come back. She still held her head high and came. How could she not? He had proposed to her before he left. “It will be a small ceremony, you and me, and some of my buddies from the Navy after I come back”.

She waited for hours, and with anticipation from the fact that he would be done with his tour and return the day after, she couldn’t sleep properly either. But something extraordinary happened. She couldn’t believe her eyes, maybe it was from the fatigue from not getting a proper night’s sleep, but she saw him. Standing there. She became teary eyed and was about to wail with tears of joy. But before she could he said something “I’m sorry” with a big grin on his face. She stood up to see if she was imagining it or not, but with a blink of an eye, he wasn’t there anymore. But she stepped on something as she heard to crinkle. She couldn’t believe her eyes, it was an origami crane. She put her hand to her mouth as gasped and her tears of joy turned to tears of sorrow. She couldn’t believe what was happening, but she hoped to God it was a dream.

Everybody was looking at her, surprised to as what was going on. When she felt all the glaring eyes staring at her, she tried to rush out of the shop. She looked back to through the transparent door to see him for one last time, but when she opened the door, he wasn’t there. She looked at the crane in her hand to see if it was still there. It was. She turned around slowly, and realizing that was the last time she would see him. She started to walk back slowly, understanding that he wanted to get on with her life.  Trying to wipe of the stream of tears rolling down her face, she walked away slowly, ever so slowly to returning to her own life.


Kind of clich├ęd, but my version of a love story. Hope you enjoy…

-Saquib

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