“I promise you I’ll definitely be back. So please wait for me!”
Most men before their departure say these words to their beloved. Many are not able to keep their promise.
She had witnessed many women hopefully clinging onto this promise, only to fall into bottomless despair when it got broken.
Never would she imagine the day when her ears would hear the same words.
He came to her full of courage and vigor to bid farewell. Though his profile shone with a hopeful vision for a promised victory, she could not help but picture his battered body scattered among thousands others, laying wasted to the scorching sun and the starving vultures. She had seen. She had known. For that her heart ached at the sight of his back fading away.
She said her silent prayers while tenderly embracing the seed he had planted before his leaving. She prayed that he would come back to witness its growth and blossom.
The moon watched her with his solemn yet kind, knowing eyes while the wind, the gentle wind, whispered solace into her ears. They, too, had been living long enough to foresee what fate awaiting a soldier on the battlefield. For that, they pitied her. As they had done so with thousands others.
The moon came and passed; still, there was no news of him. His seed had budded healthily. As it grew, it began to wonder about its father. Each question it raised out of innocence was a hard stab into her bleeding bosom. Would she plant a false hope in its mind only to see its wilt later? Would she speak the truth and let the pain worry its young heart? She would do neither. As its mother, she chose to keep silence.
The wind’s mournful sigh brought to her the despair she had expected since the day of his departure. She thought she had been well-prepared but no, when it struck, all she wanted was to collapse and wither away. She didn’t though. Her roots were firm and she had to stand strong for her child. For their child.
Her heart was calm as the deepest bottom of the ocean when his remains were brought home. Her once handsome and vigorous man was now only a mix of scattered bones and decaying flesh.
She wept upon his remains.
They buried him by her side, his final will before demise. She smiled despite the salty veil of tears. His promise before leaving, at least he had managed to keep it till the end.
Their child asked her where its father was, to which she patted its head and answered.
“He’s right here, child, forever by our side. Grow up strong and healthy, child, for you grow up on your father’s flesh and blood.”
One day for sure, it would come to understand her words.