A Pretty Patch of Blue
The little girl stood on the edge of the sidewalk, watching the drab of camouflage march by to a drumless beat. The soldiers were parading through town, back from their seven year tour in the foreign country. The war was over, and the veterans had finally returned home. Wives resisted the urge to yell out their husbands' names as they passed, for this part of the parade was silent. The wives that weren't crying happy tears were mourning the news of their deceased loved ones. But the crying was silent: it seemed as though the whole town was silent, and the only noise was that of the soldiers' boots driving into the ground at exactly the same time every two seconds. The constant thud came across as well rehearsed, and anyone could bet that they had practiced this march more than once.
She was a pretty patch of blue among the sea of military colors. She stood silently like the rest of the crowd except a bit closer than the other women dared to go. After all, she was only seven, and although she understood that this was both a mournful time and a happy time she couldn't help but inch forward, hoping to catch a glimpse of the honey colored hair that matched her own. Margaret did not know what her father looked like, just that he had dark blue eyes like her own and possessed the same blonde shade of hair. Her mother was too poor to have any pictures of him, so while the other children at the school knew what their fathers looked like from old polaroids they had been shown, Margaret only knew of what he looked like and the stories her mother had shared with her.
He was a great man, and her mother loved him very much. Even though they hadn't seen each other in seven years, he had not been on the list of the deceased. He was still alive, and Margaret's mother could hardly control her urge to run out into the crowd and find him. Margaret, although her exterior disposition was calm, as rather nervous and jittery. She had never felt her father's touch: never been in his arms, never held his hand. He had missed the early moments of her childhood, and those times would never come back.
A breeze picked up and lifted the ruffles of her sky blue dress and the stray blonde strands that had escaped the tight French braid in her hair carried softly across her face. She was patient, searching the waves of soldiers for the blonde headed man that was her father. She was a fair girl, her skin untouched by the sun's tanning rays. The men that marched past her did not look at her, but she studied each of them, trying to see any resemblance of her in their faces. Thoughts buzzed through her little head, swarming like yellow jackets on a hot summer day: Where's my daddy? He's here, isn't he? Mama said he was…but how come I can't see him? Should I move closer? Or will one of the ladies behind me cough at my behavior?
Margaret continued to stand there under the scorching sun, becoming more and more nervous as the soldiers had continued to pass. She should have seen him by now, right? She had studied each of them, but so far her search had been unsuccessful. Her fingers were intertwined tightly in front of her as she stood, reminding herself of what her mother had told her that morning. Now stand up straight, darling. You want to show your father what a lovely young lady you've become. You want him to be proud, don't you? Don't slouch like that. Shoulders back, that's it. You look beautiful.
Her mother had concluded her small speech by tying the bright red ribbon off in her hair and cupping her face. She had kissed her forehead and then taken her hand, and the two had headed out the door to the parade area.
Upon remembering the events of the morning Margaret had lost track of time, and now as she looked up the only thing she saw was the back of the last row of soldiers, now several yards away from her. She had failed, in her mind. She had failed in searching every one of their faces. She had lost herself in her day dream, and now she'd never find her father.
A voice sounded from behind her. It was familiar, but she couldn't quite place where she had heard it before. It was like a voice from one of her dreams, the ones where everything was dark and warm and secure. But the voice had always been fuzzy, as if spoken through a barrier. Now the voice was clear. Slowly she turned around to be met with a pair of dark blue eyes the same as her own. As she took him in, her mouth slightly agape, she noticed he had a small white flower in his hand. He noticed her attention drawn to his hand and remembered what was held there. Smiling cautiously he held it out to her, but the girl ignored it. No, she ran the short distance between them and jumped into his waiting arms. Any nervousness disappeared as she smiled at him and buried her face in his neck, taking in his scent. After a minute she pulled away and looked into his face as he held her with one arm, her small fragile arms wrapped tightly around his neck. He hadn't dropped the white daisy, and as he grinned broadly he brushed the stray strands of blonde out of the way and tucked the flower behind her ear.
A/N: a little something I wrote for my English Honors class. 100%.