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The Return of my Beloved Soldier

Writing is not just a profession but a passion for me. From informative blogs to short fictional tales, I love to write about everything.

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It has been 3 months and 2 weeks now from the day he left for a mission against the rebels. She aimlessly stares at the spinning ceiling fan while contemplating the whereabouts and well-being of her husband. Her waist-length golden brown hair gives her a light pat on the back as she rises into a sitting position. Her reflection in the mirror straight ahead of her looks quite unfamiliar. The formerly gleaming complexion with a tinge of rose pink had turned pale and dull, and her once brilliant eyes had grown lifeless and swollen from the long hours of weeping and restless nights. “Was it true?’’ A cold shudder runs down her spine as she ponders.” Will he never return as they all say?”

Unable to handle the flood of questions and disheartening thoughts, Deena swiftly gets up and leaves the room to look for a distraction. “He will come back.” She boldly reassures her vulnerable heart which was on the verge of breaking. “He has to come.’ She attempts to convince herself again, as she makes her way into the drawing room to spend some time with the television but stops at the sight of her nosy neighbor – Aunty Batool, sitting next to her annoyed and harassed-looking mother-in-law. Oh, no… not again.

“Deena beti1!” Aunty Batool screeches, behaving like a teenager who found her long-lost best friend. “Beti, why don't you join us for a seat? I haven't seen you for a while now.” Deena unwillingly moves towards the plush maroon sofa, inwardly chastising herself for leaving her room. “Don't hide yourself inside the house, Beti. You should pay me a visit every now and again. Spend some time with my daughter. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say.” Besides, there’s nothing we can do, can we?” The last part of her speech causes Deena to halt in the middle of sitting down. ”Hira.” Aunty now addresses her mother-in-law and softly pats her shoulder. “I know, the loss of a young son is unbearable but you two ought to come out of it now.” She exhales loudly, oblivious to the fact that Deena had stopped in her tracks and was now glaring at her with anger. “Most of the martyrs from Arman’s unit have been returned to their families so you should be strong and prepare…”

“He’s not dead!” Deena burst out, now shaking with rage and agony.

Gasping due to her fast pace and accelerated heartbeat that had been caused by the row between her and Aunty, Deena briskly walks on the pavement under the grey dusky sky ten minutes later. Aunty had thrown a huge tantrum, declaring Deena to be an ill-mannered woman who disrespected her guests and refused to accept the reality. “It’s only a matter of days before the truth will lie in front of your eyes.” Batool had hissed behind a bewildered Deena storming out of the house. Why is this world so heartless and heedless? Even a matter of someone's life and death is treated as gossip.

She sighs as her dull trail of thoughts finds an enlightening souvenir of her and her husband's first encounter.

“Hey girls! Meet my cousin, Captain Arman.” Deena’s best friend, Myra had announced as a tall man with luxuriant jet black hair and matching dark eyes entered the room where the friends had gathered to celebrate the end of their final term at university. All girls except Deena had shamelessly oohed and aahed at the sight of his broad chest and well-built torso. Acting equally shameless, Arman had also confidently scanned each and everyone until his gaze rested abruptly at Deena. She tried to avert her gaze, but something about those dark orbs drew it back. She didn’t know how long they had been staring at each other when Myra’s voice brought her back to Earth. “Err Deena, have you fallen for him already? He’s a heartbreaker so don’t say I didn’t warn you” The entire room burst out laughing, and Deena's cheeks flushed crimson with embarrassment. To make matters worse, he winked and gave her a lopsided smirk making their audience now applaud and whistle in amusement while she stood there helplessly enduring the tormenting chuckles.

She giggles and wipes the warm tears that ran down her cheeks. “Arman, I miss you.” She mumbles between her sobs. “Please don’t leave me. Please…please come back.” Emotionally battered and tattered; she drops to her knees and weeps hysterically into the unusually chilly and lonely summer night air as merciless drops of rain begin to lash her.

A beeping sound causes the screen of the smartphone she had absent-mindedly carried with her to lighten up. “Please return right away! Don't squander another second.” Her blood freezes in her veins at the text from her mother-in-law. She carelessly turns around almost tripping over her own shoes and runs home. Upon reaching the neighborhood she finds several military vehicles, men running around unloading coffins, and the families of the deceased hugging and crying. “No, no, no!” She takes a step backward before sprinting towards her house and bursting in through the door to find her sobbing mother-in-law already in the doorway. Hira rushes forward, extending her hands to hold her daughter-in-law’s face, and kisses her forehead affectionately. She points towards the drawing room and rushes out of the door. “I need to find that Idiot, Batool!”

What does this mean? Her body trembles in anticipation of what she was to find in the drawing room. No, it couldn’t happen. She takes a few feeble steps forward and lightly pushes the door which lazily opens with a creaking sound, revealing a tall man with jet black hair, dark eyes, and a bandaged forehead and arm leaning across the pastel purple wall of the room…

Wide-eyed, she covers her mouth with one hand and tries to hold on to the doorknob with the other to avoid falling. He gently approaches her with a smile on his face, displaying a dimple on either side of his cheeks that had been plaguing her thoughts since the first time they met. “Deena, my sweetheart.” He whispers in a rich, husky tone that throws her off balance for a second. Unable to find words for her perplexing emotions, she simply runs and pulls him into a tight hug and buries her face into his chest as tears of joy now turn into snivels. He slightly flinches at the sudden contact with his wounded chest but wholeheartedly welcomes the warmth of her embrace and wraps his arms around her, forgetting the endless night of aches and convulsions he had been through.


1 Beti = Daughter in Urdu

© 2021 Najm Fareed

Comments

Najm Fareed (author) from Rawalpindi, Pakistan on June 29, 2021:

Yeah, I thought it's not a good idea to leave our audience saddened by our stories :D

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 29, 2021:

I am pleased you decided to do that, Najm :)

Najm Fareed (author) from Rawalpindi, Pakistan on June 29, 2021:

And John, after writing The Reunion, I wanted to write something with a happy ending so this is what came into my mind.

Najm Fareed (author) from Rawalpindi, Pakistan on June 29, 2021:

Thank you for those wonderful comments John and OLUSEGUN. Your words motivate me to continue writing.

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on June 29, 2021:

Thanks for sharing. keep the good writing spirit up.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 29, 2021:

What a delightful story with a most welcome ending. Gossips always seem to seek the bad news in preference to the good. Nice writing Najm.

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