I still remember my mother frantically waving goodbye with both empty hands swinging in the air on the day I left her, for the last time. Life has not been the same since then. Occasionally, I hear her innocent chuckles across the halls of my house and when I follow them - helplessly detecting the source; they become distant and then finally faint. The traumatic memory has forever engraved a feeling of guilt in my heart- the guilt of not being able to protect my most prized possession. Darkness descended, the water was calm, and the moon barely visible through the cloud cover. "Son, will you come back soon?" Mother inquired hesitantly. I had joined the army a few years ago and since then, life constituted of endless travels due to my strict schedule. As I packed the last of my things, turning towards mother, I saw the worry that lurked in her blue eyes. I held her bony hands with their calligraphy of veins, and assured her that I would be back the next morning. The night came down like sheets of silver knives; blinking my eyes continuously, I made an effort to while away my fatigue and stay alert, for I was part of the battalion watch guard of the line of control. Just then, I heard briskly walking footsteps approaching towards me. "Sir! Sector 9300 is under attack! Immediate orders have been issued for Battalion 194 to change posts." As the envoy marched away, I felt sick to my stomach. A cold fear rushed through my veins. It occurred to me, that sector 194 included my own residence! Upon reaching the site, I felt a strong taste of metallic fear in my mouth for the sky was bleached white with drifts in it of what first appeared to be red smoke, but then proved to be blood red dust. Broken, shattered pieces of glass, destructed buildings and fallen trees lay amidst a mesh of blackened faces with streaks of blot clot. The streets were dark- not just dark, but pitch dark. Marching through the mist of thick grey smog, searching endlessly for my resident, I was praying and hoping that Mother would be alright. Adjusting my eyes to the gloom, I saw the figure of a woman. As I came closer, the silver splintered brown hair and velvet wrap illuminated my thoughts. Her face was barely recognizable due to the immense destruction. With eyes suffused in tears, I took off my jacket in vein and gracefully covered her body. She was gone and there would never be another like her; an overwhelming personality with a soothing spirit and a voice that could move crowds to both tears and laughter. If only I had not left her. If only I had never said goodbye.