Day One

One day, on your way to work, you pass by the cemetery. It’s your usual route and you normally pass straight, about your hustle and bustle. On this day out the corner of your eye, you notice a girl sitting on the ground next to a grave. This stirs your curiosity because, as you’re going about your routine day, somehow, it looks like a usual day for her as well. The girl isn’t crying or holding flowers, in fact, she looks like she lives there, in the cemetery.

The next day you pass again and this time you look out for her. Sure enough she’s there. “Was this girl always here?” you ask yourself. Evening time comes and on your drive back home, you look again and there she is, “why is she there?”

The next few weeks passes by and you’re so busy you forget to glance over to the cemetery until one night, you dream the girl, just sitting there. The dream wakes you out of your sleep and you ask yourself if the girl is still there.

The next morning you look for her and there she is. You decide that on your way back home you will stop by and try to find out what is going on. The evening comes and as you’re driving, your nerves are all jarred. For some reason you’re jittery as hell, “what will I say? Why am I even doing this? Suppose this goes bad.” The thoughts flood your mind. Thankfully, the street is quieter than usual as you bring your car to a stop. You look around as you come out and the girl is there sitting by a grave. Suddenly, your mouth goes dry, there’s a lump in your throat and you consider jumping back in your car and forgetting this silly whatever it is.

“Hello,” you hear yourself say. The sound of your own voice startles you, but not her. She calmly turns and looks at you as you stand outside the cemetery walls. “Hi,” you hear yourself say again and inside you shake your head and wonder if those are the only two words in your vocabulary. You have her attention now as she looks at you very calmly standing outside the cemetery walls.

You look around to see if there is a guard or a landscaper. No one. “Hi,” you hear yourself say again and this time the word is annoying you so you proceed to climb over the wall. At this point, the girl’s whole demeanor changes and she shoots up in the air looking at you as you climb over the cemetery wall. You look at her and realize she’s standing there wringing her hands looking like she’s seeing a ghost.

“Can I speak to you?” you hear yourself say as you clumsily make a landing. The girl is scared stiff but if someone could wring off their hands, this would be the time. “I won’t hurt you, I just want to ask you a question.” You realize the girl is terrified so you walk towards her slowly. You’re so captured in the moment that you don’t hear a voice screeching behind you.

“What’s going on there!” a stone lands next to your feet. You turn around and see a woman standing outside the cemetery wall hollering. “What’s going on there!” You feel your face go flush and the embarrassment wells up inside you. By the time you look back, the girl is gone and the woman is looking at you like you’re a criminal.

You take the walk of shame back to the wall where the woman waits, eyebrows furrowed. “Oh boy, this can’t be good,” you think to yourself. You climb over the wall and the woman is looking at you like she’s expecting you to say something. “What?” you hear yourself say.

“Sir, that girl has been living in this cemetery for years, what do you think you’re doing?” the lady asked.

“I’ve been living here for years and I only noticed her a few weeks ago,” you hear yourself say.

The lady shakes her head in agreement.

“Yes, most people don’t notice her but she’s there. Whatever it is you think you’re doing sir, be careful.”

The warning makes your throat go even drier.

“I wasn’t going to hurt her, I just wanted to talk to her, find out why she’s there, she may need help.”

The lady shakes her head in agreement.

“Whatever it is you think you’re doing sir, be careful.”

She looks at you sternly and walks away. You stand there, looking at the lady walk off and your mind is in a daze. What just happened there? You look back towards the cemetery, shake your head and get into your car.

You drive home that evening wondering if you should leave the girl alone or if you should go back.

You decide, you’ll go back.

ArmyManDaughter II- The Call

It was normal Saturday bustling around and I, RA1.0, was trying to get my household chores done. Now afternoon, I was finishing up and looking forward to a long “stare into space” sit down. I was exhausted. My phone rang and I was tempted to just let it ring and check the voicemail after. The last thing I wanted to do was engage in any talk but I took the call anyway. What happened next put everything around me in slow motion.

On the line, the man identified himself as a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. He asked me to verify that I was the daughter of the late Lance Cpl Nazim Ali. I answered yes but I remember feeling myself going into a blur of confusion. He then proceeded to tell me that the service was planning a commemoration service for my father and other fallen officers of the Camp Omega explosion. I stood there feeling very perplexed. A commemoration service after all these years? Why? He quickly explained what they were planning and asked for my assistance in providing my father’s personal information. I asked him if he spoke to my mother and he said that she referred him to me.

I then asked him to explain himself again because even though I was hearing his words, everything felt surreal. I wasn’t sure if I was hearing what I was hearing. After I was convinced that I was in fact being invited to my father’s commemoration service, I asked the Officer the date and time of the event. I then asked where the service would be held. Camp Omega was his reply. The pang that hit me at that moment was so unexpected I could no longer control my emotion. The Major had to listen to me cry for ten minutes. That’s a lot of cry. Surprisingly, he was very patient. I couldn’t understand why they thought it would be a good idea to carry the families of the deceased back to a place where they lost their loved one so suddenly, especially after all these years. I asked him twice again to confirm the venue and both times he said the same thing. He then closed off the conversation by telling me he will keep in touch. He hung up and with the dial tone humming in my ear, I swear the whole street was quiet and listening. Not one sound. I felt like I was like floating in a proper daze.

Then I went and did what I wanted to do before I took the call.

I took a long “stare into space” sit down.


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