“YOU DID WHAT!!!” yelled Khadija, Omar’s mom a tall thin woman wearing a black and gold outfit, at him.
“Hamza and I went down to the recruiter’s office and signed up.” Replied Omar nervously; this was not going at all as he had seen it in his mind. He had envisioned hi mother crying and grief stricken but proud, not blazing with anger.
“When you say recruiters, you mean you have signed up as dutronic robotic gardening equipment salesmen.” Said his mother with just a hint of sarcasm.
“No mother, Hamza and I went and signed up with “
“I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BOY, I AM NOT STUPID.”
“Hamza and I …”
“I don’t care what Hamza does, I am not his mother. Now I forbid you to join the military. I have just lost your father, I am going to need help with your sisters,” she said gesturing to the 3 little girls who were sitting quietly on the living room’s old and worn couch.
“Mom, we already signed up. We are to report back to the recruiting station next Thursday to ship out for training.”
Khadija collapsed into the big black leather chair next to the couch, her head in her hands. It seemed that her anger had evaporated away and with it her strength. Her husband of twenty-four years dead and now her only son going off to fight in a war that had taken her by surprise. This was not how her life was supposed to be going, she thought. She had been inquiring about brides for her son and had expected to have him introduced to a few prospective brides when her husband had returned in 6 months. Now all her plans were shattered.
Khadija had Omar home for ten days and she made the most of it. Cooking all his favorite foods and letting him spend his days drinking tea and playing mancala with his sisters and friends. Omar figured he had gained two kilos by the time he reported to the military recruiter’s office, where they were given train tickets.