Yo!! Its Teebabsy
Merry Christmas my darlings!!
I think the best part about Christmas isn’t the lovely presents we receive, but rather its that time of the year where we take time out to be grateful for the little things.
Life, love, good health, laughter and family are some of God’s greatest gifts.
As We are celebrating, let’s all take time out to say a prayer of thanks remembering those that aren’t as lucky as we are.
Happy holidays from the Irish Sugar family!!
Without further ado, I present to you;
Herat, Afghanistan 5:02am 23/12/2013
I hugged my backpack a little tighter for warmth!! The tiny tents we had made couldn’t provide the necessary warmth.
It was a very chilly evening, winter in this region was quite severe as a result of the winds from the Karakum desert.
But over the years, I had accustomed myself to it. I turn to my right side to continue in my slumber.
A loud boom startles me to my feet. Its the sound of bombs hitting the ground. Several gunshots and explosions follow successively. I could hear the shouts and screams of my mates. We were under siege!!
“durtar vaista, durtar vaista!!!” (stand back) Lieutenant Iqbal shouted.
I hurriedly put on my helmet, slinging my backpack on my shoulder, holding my Tofang in position to shoot, I began to take small strides, I crawled, I walked and even ran where it was necessary.
There was blood everywhere with bodies scattered across the floor; legs, hands and other parts also covered the floor, my day had just begun.
Life in the United States Army was no small feat. The early morning routines, the countless cold nights, the nostalgia for home and the numerous deaths witnessed.
I had been deployed to the city of Herat years back. Being the third largest city in Iran, even in war, it still had its beautiful buildings; the Musalla complex was a sight to behold.
It took quite some time but I can proudly boast of being a decent Farsi speaker (the most popular language here)
Herat is known for its rich wine, with which I often drowned my sorrows.
I hurried along with the pack, I couldn’t afford to be left alone. We rushed to find cover, each man running as fast as possible.
“Watch Out” Abdul called out with his funny accent, He was still mastering the English language basics.
I was about to say “Mamnunam” meaning thanks, but it was too late.
I just heard a loud bang and could feel myself falling to the ground. The end was here. I had often thought of how I’d die but I hadn’t pictured it this way or this soon.
I had often thought it would be in some kind of heroic way, how ironic things turned out.
It was then I thought of my sweet Camille; I would never get to see her beautiful smile and dimples, I would never get to tell her how much I still loved her and my lovely daughter.
I would never hold them in my arms again, I would never get to tell them how sorry I was but it was probably for the best; a shadow of myself I had become, the life long effects of a man who had gone to war. They had lost me a long time ago to this very war.
I take a deep breath and the darkness engulfs me…
San Diego, California 6:30pm 24/12/13
I pulled the curtains sideways to watch the snow flakes landing on the side walks. Decorations and lights filled the streets.
I rested my head on the window. There was music and rejoicing in the air. It was that time of the year I dreaded the most; It was Christmas.
It was the time of the year that constantly reminded me of all the things I once had that had been lost; A husband, A family, Warmth, laughter and love.
They had all been taken away from me five years ago when Iyke was deployed to Afghanistan. It was in our fifth year of marriage and I had been four months pregnant. I had been devastated but there was nothing I could do.
It was his call to duty. I vividly recall the day he left, I was wearing a pink satin dress with embroidered flowers along the bodice, I stood on our porch with a tear stained face and watched him drag out his luggage.
It had been to much for me to bear, my heart was aching. He had pulled me in for a hug, kissing me on my forehead, then he kissed my bulging belly and said;
“I’m always coming home to you babe”
He had left after that and he had never come back to me. He had been home twice, but he hadn’t been the same. He was no longer the man I had married.
He was distant, cold and always in thought, almost as if he had witnessed horrors beyond his years. His incessant nightmares left me constantly worried.
He wasn’t even an attentive father to Tracy. He couldn’t find joy in the little things any longer.
With time, he had stopped coming home, he only sent letters and post cards, it was the way he kept in touch. I had lost my love to the cold hands of war.
The tugging on the edges of my gown drew me back to the present.
Mummy, can I put the star on the christmas tree now??
It was Tracy, my daughter. Over the years, we had developed a tradition of sort, she puts the final star on the tree on Christmas Eve. The door bell rings and I get up.
“Just a minute honey,” I say.
I head for the door and to my utmost surprise and horror, its Iyke in bandages and crutches with his Lieutenant.
For a few seconds, I stand with my jaw wide open, then I burst into tears hugging him and ushering them in.
A few minutes later, I have received a full briefing of what had happened. Iyke had almost been hit on target by one of the bombs, he had some fractured ribs and a dislodged ankle that will result into him limping for the rest of his life. He had been relieved of his duties to come have a chance at a normal life.
It was almost as if I were in a movie, I couldn’t process it all at once. Tracy walked into the room, squealed in delight and ran into her father’s arms. The lieutenant left minutes later.
I was sitted on the sofa and Iyke moved towards me with tears in his eyes.
“I’m sorry baby, I know there isn’t enough time to make things right but I’m gonna start with forever” He said, raining kisses all over both our faces.
“Daddy, I want to put up the star now”.
He laughed before carrying her to the tree. Tears trickled down my face, I always want to remember this moment. This Christmas would be different, it was the beginning of wonderful things to come. I have all I ever wanted right here with me. It was perfect.
I carried my daughter in my arms, lifting her up to place the star on the tree, I had been given a second chance at life and I was going to spend the time left loving the two treasures God had given me and it would all begin with this christmas…
With Sugary Love