Khaki Uniform

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
The memory of a young girl saying goodbye to her father

Submitted: March 17, 2010

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Submitted: March 17, 2010

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I was called to come down from my bedroom. I slowly placed the old, tattered teddy upon my bed. I had been given him seventeen years ago on the day of my birth by my dad. The teddy was missing an eye. I kissed his nose and slowly slunked down the stairs. My mother was turned away, covering her face in her hands, she had long fingers, perfect for playing piano like, and her shoulders were tight and hunched over. I looked across to my father who was stood tall and proud, by the door, in his rough khaki uniform. He had let me try it on a week ago – it swamped me.
“Come walk up the hill to the main road, Izzy, will you walk with me?” He asked. My mother stifled a sob of despair.
“Of course I will,” I said reaching for his outstretched hand. I went to place a delicate hand on my mother’s arm but I hesitated when I saw my father shake his head lightly. So, I left her and let him lead me out of the front door.
We walked up the hill and spoke of nothing in particular, the cat next door, the sun streaking the sky pink, and the school disco next week. It will be those nothings I’ll forever remember.
We reached the top of the hill and stood in silence watching the sun slowly setting over the horizon. We stood there for a little over ten minutes – maybe – but he turned to me after a while and pulled me close.
“I will take you no further, Izzy, you have to go back home now.” I looked up at him and smiled slightly at his neatly brushed hair and stubbly chin.
“A little further daddy,” I pleaded. He looked up as he usually did if he was exasperated with my bad behaviour.
“Not today, I have to go back to the barracks,” He said smoothing over my hair. I nodded. He held me at arm’s length and looked over me.
“You’re growing up Isabella and I need you to promise me a few things.” He said softly. “One, take care of your mother and little brother, second you make sure you go to church, every Sunday, and finally you grow up to be a good girl.” His voice broke off on the last word. My eyes filled with tears as his fell down his cheeks.
“I promise daddy,” I whimpered before the tears overflowed from my eyes. He did something he hadn’t done since I was a little girl. He picked me up and cuddled me tightly. I buried my head into his shoulder, nuzzling his neck and I held onto him as tightly as possible.
Finally, he put me down and kissed my cheeks softly. He held my gaze before wiping his eyes.
“You go straight home now, wave to me at the bottom, I love you,” I nodded.
“I love you too, daddy,” I slowly walked off keeping a hold of his hand for as long as possible. When I reached the bottom I turned and waved at him and he made a small gesture that told me to hurry home – a small, gentle gesture. He waved and he was still waving when I rounded the corner to my road. And that, was the last I ever saw of him.


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