“I was partially unconscious the first time I saw her. It was her voice that woke me up, from a little distance. I just looked at her in one glance and the next moment I fell back to the ground. I was badly wounded. The war was getting onto us. Being an army man myself, I couldn’t do anything for myself or anybody in need there. That was the most hurtful and helpless feeling I had ever had. I remember the first few things I had heard in her voice. Even though I had no strength to move and look at her anymore, I could still listen to her. Hers was the only voice of a woman calling out to people. The next time that I saw her was a few minutes later than the first glance. She came right at me to see how I could be helped. Along with a very few people, she was helping as many lives as she could. For some reason, she was the only woman around. Probably because women weren’t usually supposed to enter the war zone. She had always been a rebel, though. But she had a great heart. That was exactly why I was curious about her. She helped me out and took me to the shelter. I don’t remember anything after that about that day.
“The next thing I knew was that I woke up in the hospital and looked around for a while to understand what was going on. I knew the war wasn’t over yet but it was at rest for the moment. When I was finally allowed to get back on my feet and walk my way out of there, I saw a weird world. My eyes couldn’t believe what they saw. The war was over. That put me in a greater dilemma. How long had I really been in there was a big question to me. Once I found out, I came into knowledge that in a single month, the war had been eradicated from at least one region but was still on a boom in a lot many. It had to be wiped out from there.
The inquiry brought information that there still were many dying out there, for nothing. Innocents were being murdered for nothing. The guilty were not even known. They were going outrageous with the killings and there wasn’t anything being done to stop them. The question was that who would?
“Along my way to the next region, I finally met with her. The girl responsible for me to be alive. I saw her again and walked straight up to her to thank her. What I saw though was a tensed face. That pinched me hard. She was shouting all across for help. She wanted men to help people out there. Nobody was around. She was all alone. She was trying to save as many lives as possible all by herself. Over the next few days, I got to be with her a little more. Though we didn’t really have any conversations, just looking at her told me a lot about her. She had no friend around. She had no family. She had lost everything to war, still, she was out there, filled with hope. She never gave up. She never stopped. She always wore a smile on her face, no matter how bad the situations went. She always filled hope in the people who were in need. All those with her were just like her. A small group of around eight people had somehow managed to save numerous lives in the bad times of war.
“As was clear, being an army man, I took to my feet too and started doing what I was meant to do. Serve humanity. The one relieving thing that used to happen after all the gruesome days was the night. I used to look at her standing in the dark, thinking something, until the day I saw her cry out there. I slowly walked up to her and stood beside her. I wanted to know what was wrong but couldn’t ask her. She didn’t turn around too. She told me that she knew I looked at her every day. She knew all about me. She knew who I was and also why I had stayed there for so long. I was in love with her. I was in love with her heart. I knew nothing about it or about her, yet, I was in love.
“The war got over three years later. I, along with five more people, saved the maximum number of lives. We lost a lot. But we didn’t give up. Today, while I’m standing here, being awarded, the man of my country, I respectfully, refuse to accept the honor. Though I’m an Indian by nationality, I spent a maximum number of years of my life here, serving the purpose of peace, put forward by my country. I refuse to accept the honor because the one who deserves it, another Indian, an ordinary girl, who had just been around for a university project, is not here. The reason I did whatever I did was her. The one who really deserves this is that girl, named Ayra, who isn’t here.
“I was in love with her. I wanted to spend my entire life with her. I only kissed her once. I held her once. I saw her smiling face years ago before she disappeared and for three months I had no idea where she was. What I wanted was her for all my years to come. What I really got was a lesson. Serving mankind is not what I believe in anymore. Another one, that living in Syria is not dangerous. Living amongst ourselves, humans, is dangerous.
“I never saw her after the day she went to get some help for me when I had been shot in the leg. I never saw her after the day she finally told me that she wanted to get married to me. If the real soldiers get this in return, why shall we be getting honored? Thereby, I respectfully refuse my honor and wish for humanity to return to all of us.”
I went straight down to the sea-shore after I left the stage and cried my heart out. I still believed, though, that she’d be smiling up there. I really love her. I didn’t explain it up there why she fell in love with me because I didn’t know that myself. I never understood why a beautiful girl like her would fall in love with a soldier. But she did. Never for the rough parts of me, but the soft ones, inside of me. That is one thing I call as a miracle.