👨 My Father
The evening sun gently descended into the horizon, as its brilliant, golden rays permeated through the black blanket of sky as it lit up the sky in a magnificent display of colour. The crickets chirped melodiously, nowhere to be seen. I took a breath of cold air through my nose as I pulled my coat more tightly around my shoulders. I shivered slightly, rubbing numb, frosty hands together to generate warmth. I love this weather, I thought. Then I pictured the sandy expanses of Egypt. THe weather where my dad was. Scorching! Must be a thousand degrees!
He lay on stomach, stretched along the parched sandy Egyptian ground. He winced as heat simmered through his green khakis. He wiped his sweaty brow with the back of his hand and took a deep breath, the bitter smell of blood and sweat lingering in his nostrils. He whispered a quick prayer before lunging into the dusty battlefield, pelleted with bullets.
I stepped into the café, squeezing mum’s hand tightly and there he was, a broad, vibrant smile, and eyes that looked like green torches.
"This is your father, Alice. Say hi!"
I felt blood rush to my cheeks, and my face get hot. This unknown man, who apparently was my dad… well I'd never really had a dad before. But this awkward stage soon passed. As memories of his deep, soothing voice reading me bedtime stories developed, soon, he had to depart once again.
He clenched his jaw shut, squeezed his fist tight and narrowed his eyes with unfaltering concentration. His pulse steadily quickened. He reached for his M1903 Springfield rifle, eying the battlefield. Then he was ready. Hauling his muscular body along the parched desert floor, he got on all fours, slowly but surely advancing towards the action. He whispered a quick prayer before dissolving into the endless shower of bullets.
I lay lazily in bed, doona stretched above my head. My hands tearing at my hair in frustration, I remembered happy memories with my father. Life without dad was impossible. Who else would read me bedtime stories? Who else would hold my hand when I was scared? Nobody. I tossed and turned uncomfortably, before sitting up, and staring blankly into the darkness. Please come home.
He stood up, keeping his M1903 close to his chest. Eying his comrades, he gave them all an encouraging glance who responding with gentle nods. He took a deep breath, and in unison their shadows disappeared into the dusty depths of the battlefield. He whispered a quick prayer under his breath.
The morning rays shone gently through the foliage, swaying back and forth with the cool, refreshing breeze. I pulled my jacket tightly around my frame in an attempt to retain as much heat as possible.
"Where's dad? When's he coming home?" I asked hopefully.
"Listen, Alice. Your father is on a journey. He's somewhere far, far away. He won't be returning… anytime soon" Mum replied in a heartbreaking voice.
Death will not distance us from your father, forever he will be by our side. I have faith that he will return. Your father loves us dearly, it's only fair if he returns. Meanwhile, bask in his love, feel his presense. He is with us.
The silhouette of Alice and her mother on a chilly winter's morning faded into the distance.
Images sourced from Pixabay