Bidding Adieu

The smile on her beautiful face had returned these days, and it would be shallow to compare her happiness to a lark. Her husband had returned from the battlefield hale and hearty, after fighting a battle in the snowy mountains where death due to bullets were fewer than death due to extreme cold.
Yes, she was brave enough to marry a soldier and to live on what meagre income he brought. She never felt envious of the more affluent. She had her share of happiness when he came back from the battlefield, a mere month in a long year.
It was three days since his return, and the first clouds of reunion had just cleared out. That morning, he got a telegram from his major, ‘Guerrilla attack on battalion, your comrades died. Come back to the border.’ He jumped off his chair and announced, “I got to go.”
“No, you can’t! You just arrived three days before! I haven’t seen you for a whole year! You can’t go in three days!”
“Dear you don’t understand. If we soldiers sit in their houses and enjoy their wives’ company, who is going to protect the border? I will have to go.”
She threw herself on the chair. Her face was as if she were going to cry. She had faced this debate quite a few times, and she always ended up on the losing side. After all, however brave she was, she was a woman, an emotional being feeding on all love she got, which, on this occasion was far less than her expectations.
He came back with a bag, clad in his better attire. He would leave in the next available transport that got him to the border. He came near her and put his head in her lap. She fondled his hair. Her eyes were wet with tears now. She understood the need of the hour. His leaving was inevitable, no matter how hard she fought with the situation. It was her time to show the bravery in Love that he used to show at War.
He got up, saw her tear-wet cheeks and wiped them off. He freed the grip of her hand from his. “Darling, What if you die in Battle?” She asked unthinkingly.
“Frankly speaking, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” And he handed out to her a chit from his pocket; The Death Letter, the letter which soldiers keep in their pockets to be delivered to their families posthumously. “I can’t promise my life to you, I have already pledged it to the country. This might be the last time that you are seeing me. I will have to go now. Liberate me from the bondage of your tears. Give me a happy good bye. My soul won’t rest if I left you crying.”
“No. I shall not bid farewell to you.”
He put his hand on her head and hid her in his chest. He kissed her head. She embraced him even more tightly, wetting his shirt with her tears.
“Dear, I am getting late. The country needs me.”
She didn’t move. She wanted to prolong the union as much as she could. A part of her mature being was trying to convince the emotional heart that she had to let him go. She had to be strong. She had no other option. She stopped her tears with great difficulty. “Okay, my love. Best wishes for the journey, I will pray every day, every hour, every moment for your return.”
He grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her on the lips. “Don’t pray for me. Pray for the well being of the country. Pray for a warless future. Pray for harmony. Thus never will loved ones have to stay apart like this.”
Saying this, he went away, carrying all his grief in his heart.

About rajajimits@gmail.com

DDU-EC 2012 batch Currently studying at BITS,Pilani-M.E. Embedded Systems.

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