She Said She Would Be at the Seaside

by Miguel Mabilangan

I haven't seen her face in three years but it felt like I haven't seen her in ten. It was her voice that told me to keep pushing on and survive through the three bullets that were lodged into my chest. It was her voice that stopped me from quivering to hold my gun straight as I walked through the desolate, sandy streets. It was her smile that warmed my heart and calmed me down as the gunfire raged on that humid evening as I crouched behind an abandoned truck at the same time as my best friend slumped on my shoulders using the last of his breath to say a prayer before he laid to eternal rest.

My God, what an experience I had; I couldn't wait to hold her in my arms and make up for lost conversation time. This crowded bus I sat on chugged so slowly along through the California countryside, I couldn't wait to get to reach the beach. I gazed through the window and floated away into my own world of memories; I didn't really want to though. I remembered the plane landing on the strip and stepping onto foreign land for the very first time. I remember how proud I was of my country and how excited I was to make my people proud. I remembered feeling all that slowly fading away through the years as I witnessed my friends drop dead right before my eyes, all those bullets I fired into other people's heads and walking to medical personnel with a young boy coughing out litres of blood as I held him in my arms.

As soon as a year passed, all I wanted to do was survive and get back to sunny California to be in the presence of the sweetest women ever; she was angelic perfection to me. I counted down the days till we would reunite and thoughts of her kept me sane. "I'll see you here at the seaside," she would write to me. I kept those words close to my heart. I would also replay those words over and over again as I laid in that hospital bed after I survived bullet wounds to the chest.

Then when the general walked up to me and sternly said, "son, it's time to pack it up. You're going home" I thought it was a blessing in disguise. What a shame to stop fighting for what I believe in, but at the same time, it's been to long, and I still couldn't stop thinking of her.

The bus stopped and as I got off, I took in the fresh breeze of the sea. It soothed my soul as I stared through the horizon of sand and water while seagulls cawed above me. The warm breeze blew across my face. I couldn't contain my excitement. A big smile spread across my face as I looked around the seaside to see my baby standing, waiting for me to run up to her.

Such a funny thing. I waited for hours but she never came. As the sun set, the seaside was still empty, I though I was going is insane. I stood there, only the sound of crashing waves filled my ears. I stayed and waited for many days for to finally see her face. But I never did. She never came to the seaside. This hurt more than the scars on my chest. I guess three years was too long for her to wait for me. On that day by the seaside, I lost my smile, and I lost my baby.

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