The morning was quite as usual. This small town where she was married to has now become her world. She has learned to fall in love with the quiet neighborhood and the simple people at her in-laws’ place. The one who brought her here is a proud son of India fighting for the country. Serving the nation was not alien to her since she grew up with her dad being part of the police force. All this has taught her what to expect from a spouse. She never complained, though felt a pain once a while for not having enough of him.
She remembered the conversation with him last night. He was miles away from the homeland in one of the tiny island countries in the Pacific. It was a training duty to prepare the men of the sea for any eventualities. His life in the Navy always demanded such extreme training measures. Swimming in the sea has always been a cake walk for him and he used to be quite confident about that. Nevertheless she asked him to be careful. Prompt came his reply, “Why do you even bother dear? Sea is like mom. I’ll be as safe as lying on her lap while cutting across the waves”.That made her smile though her hands naturally reached out to the rosary and prayed to the Mother of all, the one that has always been her solace especially during the times when he had to be away from her.
It was mid-afternoon and she was a bit annoyed that he had not called yet. Then again she thought the training could have been day long and that’s not unusual. She was quite sure of a call as soon as he could reach a phone. They’ve been married for over a year now and though the times spent together were less, they both felt the connection. For this they didn’t need any endorsement of a Platinum Day of Love.
She prepared for the evening prayers as was customary in most of the Catholic families. By the time she was half way through the prayers, her mind started wandering with thoughts of why the call never came. She could feel that she is starting to get worried. A full day without a call had never happened before unless he had told her in advance. She tried to put her thoughts to rest and finished the prayers in full faith.
There was no number where he could be reached. All what she could do was wait. She picked up the very exciting book which was half finished. Somehow it didn’t seem to generate interest anymore. She skimmed through the pages like in a dream. Stories about defense personnel have always been her choice and this book was no different. The main character was a Navy personnel himself and had left his wife and their newborn for a combat mission. A few days of action and at the end of an anticipated day of return of the war hero, she received two uniformed military officers at her home.
The officers were carrying a small case with them wrapped in a national flag. She had read about this in multiple books and seen enough movies to understand what that means. Her hero is now part of nation’s history of its fight against evil. Her heart skipped a beat but her eyes never gave her away. She remembered his statement and told herself, “Lie down on your mother’s lap my sweetheart. Sleep well. Your country is proud of you. So am I”.
Her in-laws tried to console her. But she knew that she was in a dream. A dream from which she’ll never wake up...