20 November 2016

Sunday morning

I write this seated in the office, with the hum of the lights above and the tip-tapping of my keyboard for company. I have just finished with an investor pitch which I will present in a couple of hours. 

Sitting back from my laptop, I had a sudden recollection of a Sunday morning over a decade ago. It felt like a previous life: a time when a company meant three platoons of soldiers, when I had less hair on my head and less to think about within it, and the perpetual smell of sweat hung in the air. 

My memories of the army are mostly blur now, interspersed with short instants of almost absolute clarity as if they happened yesterday. And this is one of them -- a memory of a Sunday morning:

The birds are chirping their familiar early morning song - daa-daaa-daaaaaa-da-da-da. 

The smell of dew in the air. 

A dim sky, still grey before dawn. 

I get out of bed. There is only me and one other cadet in camp today, another unlucky guy with the same punishment. I can't remember what he did, but my crime was misplacing my bayonet. We do the flag-raising ceremony together at the break of dawn, one carrying the flags and the other hoisting them up on the flag-poles in the company parade square. After that we mind our own business. 

I am seated with a book at the desk in the duty room. There is a quiet peace and contentment within, which is unexpected because I am on guard duty on a weekend rather than in bed in my own home. The camp on a Sunday is nice and tranquil without the usual chaos of shouting and of boots pounding the ground in cadence.

But I know that in a few hours' time, as Sunday came to a close, my fellow cadets will be streaming into camp, complaining all the while how short the weekend is. Chaos will resume, and there will be another full week of it before the weekend break, and I will no longer be able to hear myself in my head.

I push that thought to the back of my mind, and try to focus on my book, willing for the day to stretch out longer...

I have that same feeling now.

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