The Call – Gen KingPin
Because of the sheer serenity and calmness here at the garden today, we had stayed longer than usual. The radiation from the empyreal ball was thwarted by the uneven, mildly-saturated grey clouds that laced the blue sky, and as every second went by, I enjoyed nothing less than the usual satisfaction with my wife’s company.
She was six months out – with our first pregnancy. And soon, the patter of little feet would be complimenting the sound of toys in our home. I returned from the north-east last week, after several successful counter-attack operations against the terrorists. My superior officers had ensured that I’d be off-duty for the next nine months.
“I am glad,” she murmured, running her palm across my head, back and forth, “I won’t be alone during her birth.”
“Not as glad as I am. I want to see my baby immediately he breathes his first.”
“I prayed against your absence,” away from me, she stared at the dancing branches of the kernel trees as the breeze took its toll. “I guess my prayer was answered,” she returned her gaze. “I never knew you’d be released so soon.”
“Nothing compares to being with you,” I said. “You do know how much I cherish us.”
With smiles broadening her cheeks, she murmured: “I know,” and paused, looking directly into my eyes “as hell”.
I was basking in her pristine beauty, as her lips danced in chitchat with me. She would always keep gists for me whenever I was on call, and pour them down on my arrival. Who else could have been her better gist mate? Placing my right palm on her protruding belly: “She just kicked”, she said with a chuckle.
“He kicked?” I asked with a tinge of sarcasm.
She jacked my hand backward and huffed: “She!” her mien was laced with peevishness, “It’s a she! A female! We talked about this, right? You’d not argue.”
“Right!” I said, raising my right hand up half-way in a mild majestic salute.
She giggled, and placed her head on my 900 millimeter-wide chest: “You are still as naughty as I met you two years ago, boy.”
“And you are still as pretty as I met you two years and two months ago, small mum.”
She smiled coyly; she appreciated, not the ‘pretty’ part, but the ‘small mum’ part, and that would always earn me an extra kiss, with the length of lips-lock to be determined by her. She raised her head now and galloped her upper body closer; I was almost kissing her when I noticed the sudden change on her face.
“Honey?” she called with a sharper tempo, fixing her sight directly above my shoulders, and looking directly ahead. “What could be the trouble?”
I glanced back over my left shoulder and saw two army sergeants approaching in quick rhythmic pace. I could recognise them; they were both in my platoon and as junior officers, they had no rights to follow my __
“Major Sir!” called the first, as both saluted.
“Are you guys following me around?” I said, rising on my feet.
As much as I loved the army, I never mixed work with home. She was my home, and I was with her. This was a kind of disturbance I would make anyone guilty slurp a dog’s urine for.
They stood there, looking like dumb nitwits. “I need answers sergeants,” with the veins on my forehead depicting the level of my annoyance.
“It’s not their fault son,” said a voice, “they are just following orders.”
That was a familiar voice which had ordered me on several occasions. I looked eastward and: “Colonel?” I called with a pinch of surprise; he was the least of my expectations. This wasn’t good, I knew: What could he be looking for?
“Son! The bastards we disbanded a couple of weeks ago have started regrouping in the north, matching towards the central,” he said with a high note of firmness, “We are up for it. Chief wants us to finish what we started. We need to end them before they blink.”
“Sir…” I made to protest.
“I know, Major! You are supposed to be off for nine. Yes! But this is a matter of National Security, and you know how resourceful you are to the team. We leave at dawn tomorrow!”
“Yes sir,” I saluted, though my mind was far away. And he reciprocated.
“Alright. Major! Do your country proud once again,” he said, patting my left shoulder with his right hand. “A beautiful wife you’ve got yourself here Major,” he added, looking at my wife.
He turned and made to leave: “Roll it boys,” he said. And the two sergeants turned and walked off.
The order had been given. I had to follow it. My wife was here listening and watching the whole drama. If I had got this order alone and later relay it to her, she might take it for a joke. She had believed I’d be here when the baby ___
I stood there, silent – like a man who is afraid to break to his wife the news of a new born baby by his concubine. I couldn’t come to terms with me leaving her in this state.
“You have to go,” she said, with a shaky voice. That wasn’t a consolation, of course, I had to go. She was just trying to be strong. I turned now; her cheeks were already flooded with tears. “I’ll miss you, honey,” she said, crying. I grabbed her thighs as I bent on my knees: “Listen to me carefully,” I said looking stolid. “If I don’t return…”
“You’ll return!” she screamed.
“If at all, I do not return, you must…” she slapped me hard, and the weight she threw behind it was enough to turn my head sideway.
My grip was tighter now, her emotions had usurped me. And what I saw in her eyes was something I couldn’t define – it was more than what I could call love or pity or fright.
She drew me close and said; “You will return to me,” she paused, “before the birth of your child. You’ll be here for me.” Her voice was as strong as that of a queen who wouldn’t shift grounds for her subjects. “Promise me…”, she sobbed.
Two weeks on: Two army sergeants knocked at our door; their eyeballs reddened with glitters of tears. They brought his rank tag and ___
I accepted my fate.
Gen KingPin is an aspiring scriptwriter/filmmaker. He holds a BSc in Building from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. If he is not reading articles on construction, then he is reading/writing fictions. His works have featured on ISWOT and Booksie.com