MISCONCEPTIONS- A soldier's defeat

Paul walked from the officer's mess to his tent. Everyone had been called to come get their letters but he never got any.
This was the seventh time in a row, that his expectation had been cut short. Isabel never missed any post day how he had not gotten any of her letters in seven months, was alarming.

Every one got a letter even long John who had been tagged, 'a loner'  got an anonymous note today!
Paul stretched his folded bed and laid on it. Beneath his bunk mate's bed, facing him, was the picture of Isabel. He had kept that picture there so when he slept, it'd be the last thing he slept with and when he woke, it'd be the first thing he set his eyes on.

This was not his First deployment and worse still, he had just returned from a peace keeping mission in Somalia, when he got another call to prepare for another deployment to Iran. As a soldier, answering the call of his country, came first. Even though within his heart, Isabel would always come first.

Isabel, this was the only beautiful thing life brought his way. He signed up for the army because his life had been a lonely one. His father also a veteran, was retired and he had lost his mother to cancer when he was just ten years old. His father was away for most of the time so, he lived mostly with family members. When he wasn't with one aunt or uncle, that meant, he was grown enough to be in college.

After college, his father retired and stayed at home more often but their relationship had been strained over the years. He signed up for the army and it became the next best thing after a shared beer with a cranky friend, in front of the female sorority house.

Isabel had been a cheerleader in high school and years after high school, she still looked perfect .Their first meet, was at the coffee shop around Paul's boulevard. Isabel was no different from other ladies, but her humor and playful nature stole his heart. Ever since he was born, laughing was a hard one. He wasn't used to being laughed with rather, being laughed at, was a normal trend till he got into college and joined one of the fraternities. Meeting a lady who could make him laugh effortlessly over  a cup of coffee was delight some.

They went on to date but Isabel withdrew once she found out he was a soldier. Her reason being that, he would be away from her at all times. Their love weathered that storm as she soon came to realize  Paul was everything she wanted in a man.

Every mission he was deployed for, Isabel would write to him till his  return and he would in turn, reply with as much detail as he could give reminding her of his love. Life seemed perfect. He dreamt of when he'd marry her, and she would raise his kids while he went away and finally, retire to be with them.

"you are not going for another mission!" she had barked the moment she saw him all dressed in his regalia

"i have to babe... it's my job.. but i promise, it'll be over soon"

"then cling to that job of yours because i'm done!"  Isabel had spat out to him.

Seven months in this hell hole, seven horrible months of dodging bullets, seeing one man fall beside you, and another decapitated in front of you. where string of bombs whined down and the noise they make like an artillery shell! Isabel had suddenly gone cold no messages, she would not take his call too!

Everyone knew how difficult it was to queue at the phone booth. I mean, most soldiers would rather play the video game than wait up for a phone call, the queue was always endless. Yet, he did that all the time. He'd queue up for hours only for her not to take his call when it got to his turn. Seven months, he did that.
He loved to live, but the will to survive each battle, each war, this will to stay alive, was to have her run into his arms each time he got back.

"don't you dare die on me!" she had once said, when he was flown from a war zone back to base for medical attention

She had clung to him and whispered every lame words they both shared. Those days at the hospital were long, yet, so short.

when Isabel gave the threat, he thought she wouldn't pull through with it. Right now, he knew she wanted  a bit of attention. "When he gets back to base, he'll take out time to be with her" he thought

As a soldier in the 7th Calvary regimen, his day starts early with a leek of sunshine, he is made to conduct the physical training as the squad leader. These training includes push ups, sit ups and varieties of other activities. This was on a day, bombs weren't riling above their heads. Other times, they go dig trenches, awaiting battle. Next was to get some food to eat. It was time to get food on a calm day as this but, he was willing to pass.

"cap'ain!"  Fred called out

"yo!" he replied

"you ain't gonna get some food?"

"no" he looked uninterested

"well, you'be needing food to kill some terrorist"

Fred had spoken like the countryman he was... little gangsta to his accent. He smiled more often recently and  a few weeks ago during combat, he had begged Paul, to be a dependable cover.  Paul learnt after that experience that, Fred's wife just had  a baby. Who wouldn't want to live to see that?

"Assemble 'you'self'  soldiers Attention!"
Paul jumped from his bed, this was unusual, they never assembled unless, there was an important message to be passed across.
 "sir" Paul saluted

It was the head of the infantry regiment! how unusual.. he had arrived in a Jet minutes ago and Paul had been carried away in thoughts barely aware of his presence

" At ease!.. All the soldiers, relaxed. "For now, we have fought our own part of the battle. You'll be returning home in six days... gather your things, and prepare to go back home warriors." the lieutenant addressed them

"aye! aye! aye!" everyone around him screamed.

This was a good news. They had just gone through one of the fiercest battles a few days back. From the statistics, he knew the enemy would reiterate. finally, they'll get the 'GO' word and this time, it didn't mean to battle, it meant to go back home. He looked forward to this. He was planning to transition maybe into photography, that was a passion he once had. That way, he would spend more time with Isabel.

Paul and the others landed at the airport... from the window, he could see other soldiers lined up to give them the salute. There were a lot of standbys, waiting to welcome their loved ones. All holding the country's flag. They alighted the plane and as soon as the usual ceremony was done, every one located their soldier who was also a 'family warrior'. Hugs, tears and emotions  flew.  Paul pushed past the crowd, there was no sign of Isabel! this was the first time in three years that he had returned from a deployment without finding her here.

He rushed to her house.. the place was locked. Paul tried to fathom what all this could be. Where would she be? and the baby? Isabel had announced to him before he left, that she was carrying their baby. He walked back to his house....unpacked  and checked his mail. He found a note in his mail box,
"I am gone, and you won't find me anywhere... don't go searching, for i am gone with the wind"
              with love

The note left a bullet in his chest. He had seen people get shot right in front of him, all he did was try to help, or push the body aside to continue fighting but here, this note shriveled his bulletproof chest, hitting every atom of strength he had left.

He dialed her cellphone, she picked!

"Isabel...been trying to call you, i'm home" he stammered

"i left you a note Paul"

"yea i did see that? where are you?"

"it's over Paul.. i can't do this anymore" she sobbed

"baby i'm here for good, i plan on transitioning....that way, i won't have to jump on every deployment." i could pick up the official duties too i'm almost due for a promotion"

"i'm pregnant"

"yes i know... i'm doing all this for our baby" he begged

"its not yours..." she sniffed "its not.. i met someone we've been together and he's been around most of the time"

"Isabel! you are joking right?"

"i'm not... the baby isn't yours... i got married to mark(my baby's father) after you left for Iraq
i just want you to move on... i can't live this lie anymore. I love you." she hung up

Love? did she just use the word love? Paul slummed his back against the kitchen cabinet. He cried so hard. He had fought so many wars, yet he became so weak at the thought of Isabel's betrayal. He heard the door bell ring but he wasn't ready to face anyone

"Paul!!!!" his father's voice rang from the living room... "you didn't lock your door" he soon found his way to the kitchen

"i lost her dad, i lost her..."

"yes.. i was just about to come bare the news. I see you heard already"

Paul was still crying

"you fight to preserve life, maintain peace and stay alive. While you celebrate the victories, you also mourn the loss of your compatriots.  In the military, you are told: 'you'd win some, you'd loose some' what you are never prepared for, is maintaining your own domestic peace, preserving the lives of your loved ones and staying alive if they leave you broken; a time, when there's no victory to be celebrated, just mourning!
You were my defeat Paul; I lost your mother and i failed at raising you. I hate to see the wedge between us but you were my defeat... Isabel has become yours..." His father knelt to hug him

"Thank you for your service" Paul said to his dad as he sobbed


  1. Awwwww felt like I was seeing a movie

  2. So he expects her to stay put while he jumped everywhere? If tables were turned, I doubt he'll keep his ass put. Abeg the girl did nothing wrong *side eyes* miss Becca, are you now advocating for men?

    1. Darling, are we not all human? What affects the eyes does affects the nose. Hence the good goose and the Gander's theory.

  3. Men also cry! I love this story Nursie

  4. Your stories, how you make them sync, they always find a way to awaken the imaginary part of Us. This is a nice read

  5. I know this not because I am a soldier by profession, but because I have been hurt and i was pained because I couldn't defend myself

  6. How did I miss this? Good Lord