His father was right there at the stands, shouting encouragement and waving in an animated manner as he watched him make his first home-run in the little league series. The joy and pride on that face as he bragged about his little boy’s achievement to the other fathers while they sat under the big oak tree in front of Mrs. Smith’s ice-cream shop, having a treat specially organized for that game; he never forgot.
Even though they lost the game, that night his parents invited his best buddy over for dinner as his mother prepared his favorite dish.
The night he turned sixteen he got a pleasant surprise just a week after getting his drivers license; a surprise which he and his gang used to carry out some of the escapades of mid-teenage life. They used to park it by the local dam during the weekends while they go to their favorite spot in the nearby woods to map out plans for the coming week and compare scores for the past one.
He was no hothead but never one to shy away from an adventure and as like beget like, his group members were no better. Being a local after taking over his father’s law firm straight from college, the last he saw some of his friends were at the local draft office where they were being told that their country needed them while being conscripted.
With an unsteady bloodied hand, he brought out his hidden treasure from its secret place in the inner pocket of his uniform. He stared at the picture of Sarah carrying Ashley in her arms and instantly, more sadness overcame him. He never thought he would in his lifetime love anyone the way he loved his parents; then Sarah happened.
He can vividly recall that day he walked up to her at the high school car park after several swings from the bottle of brandy he shared with his friends and ask her for the first date. His friends were not far off as they watched from across the park, chuckling to themselves and hoping she says no and he loses his ten dollar wager.
On prom night, as they sat holding hands while sitting on his car hood gazing at the millions of stars that lined the moonless night sky, he realized there was this burning desire to have her by his side for the rest of his life; a desire that was consolidated few years later by the birth of their daughter Ashley.
The tears flowed freely as he accepted that he has disappointed every one of them and there would never be a second chance.
Even though everyone knew the risk involved, and that he could never run away even if he wanted to, he blamed himself.
Nine months ago when he last saw Ashley, who was only five, he had promised her he would be around for her next birthday; a promise he now know he will never keep.
He could hear voices in the distance as the enemy searched for remnants of the last engagement. The moon made another appearance from behind the dark clouds and by its light; he could see the bodies of his colleagues littered all over the battlefield and he knew it was just a matter of minutes before he joined them. He knew the best would be for him to be dead when they find him.
His wounds were fatal and the pains were unbearable. But as life sipped out of him, he gripped the picture more tightly and the tears continued to flow. He wished God could grant him his last impossible wish; to hold them all in his arms one last time and tell them he loved them.