I remember him so well.So well, just like yesterday.
He was a happy chap, quiet funny,sometimes too very unserious, nothing ever got to him
He seemed to be happy even in the worst of situations
One time I told him he reminded me of Dean Winchester of the Winchester brothers..
Even when he was faced with the darkest evil, he still found a way to make a joke out of it , give his cute smile and smirk if he had time.
Sam, was just like that..”Alife”
Once he told me while we were tied hands back, holding our guns, heads standing on a sharp stone and sweats breaking out of our faces and dripping into our eyes ,while the sun burned our backs during training grounds ..
“Charlie ‘…the good thing about this is that I get to fart as freely as I want to and the air gets to wash it away without the slightest stench”..
I was in pains..my head felt like it was going to split and I was pressed; and this dude here picked the wrong time to make a joke, where did he get time to be funny ..but I laughed and so did the few persons beside us.
Later while we showered , he still managed to compare how big his Johnson was to others while everyone was groaning in pains , he was weirdly funny. He even walked funny with a slanted left shoulder and bounced on his feet. He said every guy needed to have a particular walk and he called his “the slanted Jay-walk”.
When I got a letter saying my father had passed, and got a leave to go home for his burial . He told commander that we were brothers and my father raised him just so he could come with me .
I was the only son of my father you see, my sisters were too little to handle things. My mother was too broken to be on her feet. But sam, sam was there for me, for us. When I hid in my room and cried and he came in behind me asking what I was doing.
I told him nothing. He looked at me and understood. No words . He offered me a cigarette , tapped my shoulders and nodded and left me alone to my pain . He knew when a man needed to grieve and grieve alone. When I came out he was at my door, waiting. He never left me alone .
Sam was the brother I never had.
We ate together. We played together. Trained together and even went into the city together and checked out girls when we were on our watch breaks together.
He protected me, stood up for me, gave me his sleeping bag and sometimes watched over me when I was sick.
I asked him one time, why did he care so much. He scoffed and told me I should stop talking nonsense . What he does for me he does for others. That was a lie, but I let him believe I believed him. If that made him feel better. But I knew it was more.
Ofcourse when the rumour starting going around that he was into men, a black eye, some broken nose and a few broken ribs got them to shut up .
He got thrown into the hole for two weeks for that and I felt like shit but he said when going in..
” atleast I get to have a little peace and sanity to myself . Plus he missed his yoga sessions..He needed it”..then he winks, smiling with all thirty – two until all I saw was that and his bulging white eyes while he disappeared further into the darkness. He seemed happy despite and I told him he was crazy when he came out. He managed to reply..”What would the world be without some crazy?” And he was right.
When the enemy hit our camp about a couple of months later and everywhere was in chaos.
He was the only level headed person and I was suprised the way he assumed authority when we found our alpha commander lying there lifeless without his head.
He shouted orders, we held the line.we fought back. The night was filled with gunshots, red lights and blood worse than the field where the 300 fought.
He told me to never leave his side; I should follow all of his commands;
Aim and fire!
Stay behind me!
Behind you Charlie!
Jump you fool!
I felt as though he was talking and moving inside of me..
Like he was me and I was him
But I knew because of him I was able to get by unscathed safe for a few bruises to my face, leg and arms and a broken lip.
It wasn’t until we had taken over, captured the enemy even though some excaped and gotten our camp back and the cheers of the comrades echoed into the mountains scaring the unsuspecting night birds and the camp went silent, did I notice a hole on his form that I could fit my two fingers into, gushing with thick cloated blood. Making dark patches where his green uniform clinged to his skin..
“Charlie ” ..He called my name
I stood transfixed to my spot. Speeches. .
“No’..was all I could mutter.
His gaping chest stared back at me,like a mouth hoping for a large lollipop stick to fit in.
He shook his head when they offered to put him on the bed. He knew , even then he knew. He said no. Too late.
“Charlie ” again he called my name
“Don’t be a puss, it’s just blood ” he laughed
And staggered. I couldnt move.
He came towards me . I couldnt move still.
He was face to me now. .my eyes pooled. I blinked once, it trekked down my chicks .
“No” I said again, shaking my head side to side
“Let’s have a drink Charlie, one long drink and talk about all we promised we would” he pulled out his bottle of liquor from his side pocket .staggered with me to the wall..and pulled me down slowing with him..
He uncorks it, and pours a mouthful into his mouth and passed it to me.
I couldnt stop the tears, I tipped my head back and took a long drink. Closing my eyes because it burned.
I kept looking at his chest.
Why wouldnt he let them help him?
He kept refusing them to touch him.
I wiped my dripping nose with the back of my uniform sleeves.
“Charlie! Do you remember the first day we met at the base?”
My god he still had time to talk nonsense
“I told you..you looked like a scwanny little fellow, deep eyes and skinny. No life . All the anger built up inside of you.
Do you remember why I took you under my wings?
I shook my head
He coughed. I took another long drink and closed my eyes . I avoided looking at him.
“You reminded me of someone I knew long ago.
He had my eyes and my smiles . He was my shadow. He followed me everywhere. The light in his eyes could light up a dark sky. He was my mother’s joy and my father’s pride and a brother’s anchor and he was just 15 years old.” He coughed. His cloths were soaked now
I raise my hands and closed his gaping chest..and willed him to shut up.
“I couldnt safe him when they came. Men in black hijab. They took our parents first, slitting their throats before our eyes . No child should be able to witness their parents die like that.
But they left us, they said we would be good for their recruitment ..they called them ‘children of death’. Suicide bombers .
“There was no way I was going to allow my brother and I be one .
In the dead of the night, we made to escape. And we almost did, through the deep sambisa forest, but out of no where he came, not more than him. Standing between us .He held it , pointing it to my heart
“Run boy run ” I screamed at my brother over his head
“Run and keep running don’t look back. Promise me . Keep running.
But he stood there. Not moving. A smile played around his lips . He looks at me, his warmth enveloping me..my heart tugged in my chest. I stood there breathless. Suffocated. Choked. .
Then I knew even before I understood
And before his words registered
“You have always taken care of me. Let me do thesame for you brother.
Now you must live for both of us”..
“No” ! I screamed ..hands waving in the air, reaching forward though knowing i was too far away, missing my footing as it hits a rock,
But he came at him, he was fast, always had been as a child. Hugging him from behind, pulling the tiny pin from the device and turns him,both falling to the ground with my brother ontop and puff!!
They ended up in a ball of light throwing me and landing me to the soft bed of the bushes..with a few broken bones and the clip to my right shoulder.”
“I always told him I would protect and keep him safe”
Keep him away from harm and perils ,
But instead he took my place .
How was I supposed to live with that ., ? My little brother gave his life for mine.” He coughed some more, blood spilled out of his mouth, tears flowed down his eyes..
‘I joined the army to have my revenge and to die trying. And I met you ..alone, without joy, no one to call your own. And all I saw was a boy who needed saving. All I saw was a chance to safe someone . All I saw was a brother I lost. All I wanted was to repay a debt.
So when I saw that bullet coming, I told you to jump, so don’t hate me for taking your place. Today I will die happy .
I finally understood the reason for a brother’s sacrifice. .
When you love someone, even your life is a small price to pay. Because we all are our brother’s keepers…and in you Charlie, I found a brother I lost. And for you Charlie, my heart is at peace. You must live for us”…
He held my hand. I didnt care that it was bloodied and thick..
“Promise me…you are going to live?
Marry a beautiful girl and have like eight kids?
You better make sure you name one ‘sam”..else I would come back and hunt you while you are taking a shit ‘
He laughed. I laughed . We were crying
“Don’t worry Charlie boy, I will tell your father he raised a fine man. And I will tell my brother I met him in another man. Don’t hurry down to meet us, we would wait till the appointed time, then we can have a few drinks and tell stories till eternity. Charlie stop crying, people would think you love me” he smiled weakly. ..I felt him sleep away and his last words ” Charlie, you do know right?’ Tugged at my heart before his hands fell away from mine.
Hitting the ground. .
I cradled his head in my lap, I rocked him till the morning light, covering his eyes with my hands.
I didnt move until they pulled him away from me to bury him.
They handed me his things, because they knew he would want me to have them. Though he died in my stead , how was I going to live without his constant jokes, his horrid laughter and his smothering like a mother .
He was my brother. My friend and my soilder.
I remember him, just like yesterday. Everytime I close my eyes, I see him smiling there, watching over me, his empty chair mocking me, his dog chain tugging my heart as though he speaks to me ” Am always here brother, do not fret Charlie. Daddy is here!” He would tease me.
As I bend over your grave, a thousand times as I did before, paying my respects and putting fresh flowers to it,
I know that you are a definition of who a brother is, and I know you are watching over me from heaven, having a drink with my father and telling your brother jokes about me and for that I am happy you finally found peace.
Today as I go out to avenge you. May your spirit go with me..and may the wind be friendly.
For I too “Am a brother’s keeper”!