Soldier Story by the author Valery Petrovskiy
Soldier Story. Today enjoy a short story about military service by the author Valery Petrovskiy: Lifelong Leave: About Face! It’s very funny and ironic, you would like it.
Lifelong Leave: About Face!
What’s a better way to put it if your daydream was missing: it burst like a soap-bubble or it just melted away? So, my desire came true but not the way I had imagined it, quite differently yet. And I had a simple wish to visit a place I once had served in the Army.
…After my return home, deep in my heart I ever was eager to reach there and give a glance on the barracks from the other side of barbed wire. I’d imagined me turning then about just to spit there and leave the place never looking around like a nocturnal wolf in the dark.
All I’d desired was to peep into the past and then go home. Home, sweet Home! A draftee ever dreams of home, every now and then. Did you ever mount guard? One who did never forgets it, and there is no point in my recounting then.
In fact, there is nothing to tell about. In the Army one recalls an everyday occurrence from the past: his bathing in a brook and the pants lost; the other time one found a wallet when he was late to school. Or you were tearing downhill on the bike and then went headlong: you had your heel torn off and subsequently feared going home.
…Already at home, I had a dream of the Army not once, in my sleep I would repeat aloud, “Fuck off, I’ve served my time!” And next night I dreamt of the Army once again, serving at another military unit already. I never was a sailor, they served three years in the Navy, and this time I was serving as a sailor, not a freshwater sailor but a good one. I don’t know how they called them there: I never served in the Navy, you know.
At last my dream proceeded successfully, and I reached environs of the place I had served once. What had I expected to meet there coming? This sort of things: not an open country (I had served in the woods) but a godforsaken corner; not a heap of ruins but a deserted cantonment, former officers’ quarters and barracks for soldiers with its windows broken.
No, I didn’t want anything like this but they’d said that my unit was disbanded.
Still, I didn’t find such a striking picture there, for another unit was disposed instead of mine. In fact, I saw nothing: I didn’t reach the particular point, they didn’t admit me there. “Unauthorized persons not admitted!” One was allowed neither to visit the spot nor to take pictures there. When in the Army, they wouldn’t let us photograph, and I hadn’t taken pictures then, I’d just studiously memorized.
One couldn’t cancel my memory. Once in a trip they asked me why I didn’t take a camera with me. What for? I prefer to remember something sticking in my memory, not what was photographed. “Stop, cut!” No, nothing of the kind
On my way to the point, a lonely jockey at a wet hippodrome rode on a beat up horse a racecourse after racecourse, coaching. I crossed a border of his racetrack as if I rent a film reel.
Then I was walking through the forest, and nothing from the past came to my mind: neither field company guys in black overalls, nor an alarm siren long-drawn-out like trolley coach acceleration along Main Street in my city at night. And I didn’t recollect a locked gate so far from the barracks for me to run when I was on duty. Nothing at all.
So, it never happened to me.
Nice they didn’t admit me to the very spot, a point of no return.
I’m afraid, it is all as before there: another private stands by the pedestal on duty, beds are covered with white sheets slantwise and a warrant officer there in a guardroom behind a pane would have greeted me, “Well, soldier, your leave was over, yeh?”