The furlough parade

The furlough parade

A Story by Haim Kadman

An excerpt ot my book 'Summer Tempest'.


On Saturday eve after a frustrating kitchen duty Riva Etsioni was lying in her bed in the empty platoon hut, and despite her fatigue and depressing mental tiredness, she wasn't able to fall asleep.

The humiliation she had to suffer at the leave line at midday was still vivid in her mind, as if it was engraved in her brain with hot iron; after a short and excited call to her mother through her mobile, while she was standing at the third line Sivan her squad leader said a few words to her, which she did not grasp she was in such euphoria…When the platoon leader arrived and passed over the lines and the ceremony was about to end, Sivan the squad leader turned to the platoon leader and exchanged whispers with her.

Riva did not suspect anything yet, for these were the very last moments of her company in this base. It was just a furlough parade but a parade that signified the end of their recruitment training stage, and taking their leave from the staff that accompanied them during the last eight weeks. These were eight weeks of exhausting basic training, a time Riva tried to forget as quick as possible, despite the feelings of relief from the last moments of that last line up, and the repression of all the unpleasant experiences she had to pass; while she was buried in her thoughts engulfed in day dreaming, how she is passing through the base gates and leaves behind her all the harsh memories she did not wish to remember; she heard suddenly the voice of Dikla the platoon leader calling her to report before her, she was told that she was punished because of her insolence to her squad leader in front of all the platoon,  Dikla canceled her leave and sent her to the hut to change and report for duty in the base kitchen.

I've behaved insolently towards Sivan? Riva thought frustrated and angry, and with these words she answered Dikla without any ceremonial etiquette. She did not understand after all what it was all about, and she did ask Sivan what she said, but Sivan did not bother to answer her; while Riva was convinced that as it is their last day together, Sivan would put a sour face and won't shake her hand, and that would sum up that trivial matter.

Riva pale, humiliated and with a crucial effort not to burst out crying before her platoon comrades managed to restrain herself up to the hut's entrance, and only then she freed her emotions.

While changing her cloths Dikla the platoon leader appeared at the entrance and came closer to her. Riva thought hopefully that maybe the platoon leader has changed her mind, and came to announce the cancelation of her punishment; as the line up was dispersed just at these very moments and the joyous shouts of her comrades reached her ears, and have started to decrease and to dim slowly.

What for had they to be harsh towards me, at my last moments in this damn base? Riva though bewildered watching her platoon leader's face with expectancy.

But the platoon leader did not change her mind, and she was not short in time either. The base regular transportation was due to leave in twenty minutes time, and maybe she was waiting for her boy friend to come and pick her up.

To Riva's disappointment her platoon leader came to preach her, as if she needed subconsciously to release sadistic urges and to spread salt on Riva's open wounds.

If she would have come to see how I'm doing out of sincere care, to make it easier to me to pass that Saturday; to explain to me why I was punished, why she'd to accept my squad leader demand to punish me…Why, what have I done? They took me for a conceited indulgent type, and that was their last opportunity to teach me a lesson…

She started to cry again seeing in her minds eye that scene and that conversation, or more accurately the platoon leader monologue, for she did not dare to contradict Dikla's words; she did not open her mouth during Dikla's stay in the hut, afraid she will accuse her in disobedience and have her face a court martial before the base commander. Who knows maybe this was Dikla's purpose…

Riva called her parents several times already. They encouraged her, 'get over it they said and forget this unpleasant episode, tomorrow we would call you and on Sunday morning we will come to pick you up. We shall drive you to your new unit don't you dare to board a bus do you hear?'

© Haim Kadman 2007 " all rights reserved.

© 2013 Haim Kadman

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Added on May 12, 2013
Last Updated on May 12, 2013
Tags: parade, base, orders, training, leave, duty, punishment, thughts


Haim Kadman
Haim Kadman

Petach-Tikva, Israel

Profile: A few words about myself: being a native of a small country whose waist is seventeen kilometers wide in a certain area; and in seven to eight hours drive one can cross its length, I was amaze.. more..

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