To, the long gone Captain,
"Everytime I turn down these empty pages to write, she questions me about your return.For a moment I become numb and answerless for I know you will return either alive or dead. To console my heart I answer her the former return because the latter return will tear my heart into infinite pieces and she will never get to see her father, her papa who is her 'war hero' and whom she loves the most. I sense the war has raged out more than those years. I know that the times are going to get harder but I know your gallant soul won't let you down and your daughter believes it more than I do. Along with these empty walls that have been waiting for your return since 5 years I am still here with a hope of your arrival. Five years and I am still waiting,Captain. The old notebook you had gifted is where my letters have chosen to be placed. Dear Cedric , I am still here, holding on with our daughter, Daisy the only precious entity we own. The only regret left is that I can never send this letter."
Like those old nights Margie closed the old notebook with her numb hands that wanted to sense the touch of the hopeful , warm and loving hands of her husband , Cedric. Margie knew not how many letters she wrote each night but with each nights passing by she knew her devotion and ardent love for him was immortal. The old notebook was kept where it belonged, in the old case that they had first bought when they had arrived in the Beverly Street.
The case had been her dependable affluent to treasure her letters but sometimes she felt as if it mocked her everytime she kept the notebook inside it. The night was growing darker and darker with the wintry autumn but Margie was not cold. She stood besides the window glaring at the bare oak tree and remembered how she loved autumn in her teens and how she loved the streams of colour autumn brought. She had now stopped to adore them but still she adored autumn because it was the cold and wintry autumn when Cedric first asked her to marry him. She was so much elated and she still remembered how he had not brought a ring but a note that wrote "Margaret Annie Woods, Cedric Peter wanted to know since high school that will you Margaret marry him? beacause Cedric is in love with her and sees his future in her."
That day Margie had been amazingly happy than she could have ever been . She married him and they were both gifted with a daughter and named her Daisy . The war was roaring fiercely back then and it was Cedric's time to succor his native land. He was a soldier and had to go for the war leaving behind Margie and Daisy. The last thing he said to her before he went to war was " Margie , I will return. I know that Daisy is safe in her mother's arms and do not forget to tell her wonderful stories during bedtime like we always do. I just want you to know that since high school to till date you are my lucky charm and my love for you shall never inch Margie. " Since then he had not returned and his lucky charm had been waiting and waiting.
"Mommy, don't look at that sickly old uncle Oak . He is not to be paid so much of attention . He is going to be fine. He is without leaves now but in the next summer he is going to be full of leaves. ", in a sound of mockery Daisy teased both of them , her mother and the oak tree. She adressed the oak tree as uncle Oak just beacause she liked calling it so. "Alright, now little Daisy it's time for the prayers. It is again your time to bribe him , isn't it? " the mommy satirically called Daisy
. Daisy used to ask Jesus with many wishes and those wishes and promises were in terms of singing Haleelujah as many times she could."Why do you always deceit Jesus, Daisy? You never sing Hallelujah as many times you can , dear . If you keep on continuing this habit then your prayers will not be honest and genuine. You don't need to make promises to Jesus. He has presented everything to us."
Margie calmly questioned and adviced her daughter. Daisy was an innocent kid of ten, she was just five when her father had gone and all she remembered about him was the bed time stories he used to tell her and the way he held her with so much of warmth and love. She was an honest child and she thought that if she made promises to God he would be happy and surely tell her father to return. Margie knew all of it but pretended as if she was unknown about the logic Daisy had brought out. Margie didn't want Daisy to feel depressed about the departure of Cedric. She told Daisy so many brave stories of Cedric that made Daisy feel so much happy and proud about him and she used to get so much excited to tell those stories to her uncle Oak. For her uncle Oak was a best friend who listened her for hours and hours without any interruptions and without any nods or any dissents. She loved uncle Oak because unlike her other playmates he did not chide her for telling fictitious stories about her father. Uncle Oak had become her trustworthy friend.
"So many chores left to be completed. Daisy come here. Take those trash to the garden. So many mites in the kitchen and what are these? Daisy how many times should I tell you not to put your dirty socks and gloves in the case. Last time the house had been so much neat . It has turned into a mess again." annoyed with the chores to be done Margie was yelling.It took her the whole day to clean up the mess in the house and she was drained at the end of the day . She prepared dinner for her and Daisy. "Mommy, today you had promised to read out Alcott's Little Women, hadn't you?" the little girl asked her fatigued mother. The answer to her question came as " Today I am unable dear . I owe you tomorrow. Is it all right ? " Daisy approved with a nod. After the meal both the mother and daughter went to sleep. Margie dozzed off but Daisy could not. Daisy's friend Koen and others had taunted her of not having playthings like he owned and not having a father besides her like him.The ten year old could not sleep and kept on gazing at the asleep face of her mother who was in a sound sleep.That night Daisy kept on thinking when will her papa return.
"When will papa come mommy?" an inquest was made during breakfast.
" I don't know but soon . You don't worry " Daisy had expected that answer from her mother.
" No,my friends keep on taunting about me not having papa . I don't want to play with them anymore now. I won't and you keep on lying about his return . I have been hearing that he will return soon since many years. I think papa will never return."
Margie was astounded and agitated to hear her daughter. She was so much in distress at that moment. She kept on looking at Daisy's face. She regreted that she could not win her daughter's trust and faith and she could not make Daisy believe that Cedric was coming. "Daisy, go out and play with uncle Oak , now." Margie commanded . Daisy went out to the garden and kept looking at uncle Oak without a word. Inside was Margie who kept on looking at the picture of her husband . Tears were rolling down Margie's pale face. She just uttered looking at his picture, "Cedric, your daughter has started to think you won't return.How should I console her?."
That night nor Daisy asked Margie to read her out Alcott's Little Women nor Margie spoke a word. Margie jut heard Daisy say " I am sorry Mommy." Margie had already forgiven her little daughter. She kissed Daisy's forehead and said " Good night Daisy. "
"Margie, the war has been halted by the state. What a relief. If they had to cease it why did they even declare it. Many soldiers needn't have to die.I even heard half of the soldiers are only alive. I pray Cedric comes home "
Margie's neighbour Mrs Mebbin brought both satisfying and dreadful news to Margie. Margie's heart was beating as fast it could. Every beat of her heart was solely crying and pleading for Cedric's return. She went in front of Jesus and pleaded " My daughter keeps on making promises so that you fulfil her wishes. I have always told her that you presented us with everything you could and yes you have. You know how these 5 years have passed. How I have spent those scary nights alone, how I have heard deaths of many soldiers and fearing if it was my husband too and how I have brought up my little girl without her father. Dear god, after five years I am asking for something. Please make him return . It's the only thing I would ask for. "
Margie had turned fragile over the years and why wouldn't she? She drowned her fears and pretended to be strong but now it had been worst to endure that pain. She was left with a hope, a hope of return but days passed Cedric didn't return and Margie and Daisy both started believing he was dead.
That night Margie again wrote a letter but this time she didn't keep it inside the notebook. She kept it in the table and went to close the window that was bringing the cold breeze inside. As she was closing the window she something big near the oak tree that was advancing towards her house .She reckoned it as some animal because it was pitch dark outside the house. She feared and called out, "Daisy" but Daisy was sleeping soundly. Margie decided to go out and took a cane from the case, wrapped herselt with the saffron shawl. She opened the door and went out to the garden. She ran as fast as she could and with all her strength and hit the animal with the cane.
"Margaret!. Haven't you kept a porchlight in the garden yet? How many times should I tell you ? This is not the first time I have been mistakened as an animal. God knows how many times I have been beaten." Margie couldn't affirm the voice she had just heard from the 'animal' she had hit. "Cedric?" it was all she could utter. "You thought I would never return , isn't it Margie? but I kept my promise.Your devotion and love is what brought me here." Margie was so much in emotion that she could not utter a word. All she did was embrace him. " Let's go inside. Daisy would be so much raptured to see her papa." Cedric and Margie advanced towards their home.
"Daisy has grown so beautiful, just like her mother." Cedric glanced at his daughter whom he adored the most.
"Daisy, Daisy wake up." the mother wanted to wake her daughter up but Daisy did not wake up. " Your papa is here" Margie shouted . Alarmed with the sound the litlle girl woke up. " Daisy, won't you say "papa" to me ?" the soldier asked his daughter. Daisy could not believe her eyes. " It's him. Mommy papa is here". the little one jumped from the bed to embrace him. " I missed you and you have grown so beautiful my girl", Cedric exclaimed with joy.
Now ,Margie needn't write any letters. Her daughter would not bribe Jesus during prayer time every night and uncle Oak would not hear any war stories. Margie looked at her husband and her daughter. She could now breathe properly. After all , the long gone captain ,Cedric Peter had returned to his Margaret Annie Woods.