Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beginning of the End

That night we both lay on the bed. Not looking at each other, instead staring at the ceiling. Silence, other than the occasional chatter of the bugs outside the house. The breeze swayed the curtains into a gentle ballet, and the smell of the ground and the grass lingered in the room.

I knew exactly what was on her mind. It has barely been a year since I fully recovered. And there I was, called back to my next mission.

“You’re not ready for this,” she once said many months back. Part of my body agreed with her. The deep wounds sustained from my past tour in the Pishrow unit took a toll on me, and truth be told, there was a strong and overwhelming burden within me that would have rather stayed back and rest. Recover, recoup, nursing my own wounds.

But a lot changed.

And more is about to change.

I gently folded the blanket over and climbed out of bed. Flipped the bathroom lights on, brushed my teeth and washed my face, the whole time knowing well enough that Nire was looking at me from behind. There was just no way I could look into her eyes. Her eyes were screaming at me. What would I do if anything happens to you? What would I do if lost you again?

I snapped on army uniform, pressed and crisps. Only Nire could iron my clothes that way. Other than my gears and equipments, everything else were packed and made ready by her. Even the boot shine. I slumped onto the chair near the door, gears locked and loaded. Everything’s ready, I thought.

Then I saw her leaning against the stairs. Sniffing, sobbing quietly. No, I’m not ready.

The bus approached. I walked up to her to kiss her goodbye. She cusps my face tightly, tighter than ever. “What would you do for the person you love?” she was desperate. I knew then, that she would have done anything, and absolutely anything to make me stay.

What would you do to make sure that you don’t lose the person you love the most?

What would you give up for me?

She caught her breath, and slowly asked, What higher price must you pay?

Her voice, so saturated in sorrow and soaked in agony. I drew her close to me, nose touching hers, eyes closed the whole time. Right in front of me, was the only reason I stayed alive when the trees and grounds around me gave way to enemy fire; right in front of me, then, was the only person who waited for me all those years just to return home, be it in parts and pieces, deformed or perfect, she waited nevertheless.

And it seemed, perhaps it simply was, cruel to leave her just when I returned to her embrace.

Must you leave me, again?

I kissed her on the forehead. My eyes too, were moist. In the darkness of the hall and stairway, I could see the glitter from the crystals formed on the edge of her hazel eyes. I looked deep and long into it, knowing that I very well may never see those eyes in a long, long time.

“For you,” I finally broke my silence, “I would give you anything. Everything

“Absolutely everything to keep you safe.”

That is why I have to go.

It took all the strength within me to break myself from her arms, to pick up my gears and walk out of the door without looking away. With those steady, yet dreadful steps, I walked towards the army bus only to be greeted by the Sergeant.

“About time.” Sergeant muttered in his usual voice. I raised my arm in salute, and he responded likewise. “I hope you’re ready.”

I’m ready sir, I lied.

“You’d better be,” he said. “This mission may well be your last.”

The Beginning of the End

and the Last

of Zanotopia.

Part 1: Sergeant Have Mercy on Me (Edited)

Part 2: Forgotten (Edited)

Part 3: Behind the Bronze Mask

Prologue: And the Reyarps Fell

1 comment:

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