It’s just started and already I am enjoying it so much. He walked in yesterday, utterly exhausted, hungry, dirty. They had taken a 9 kilometer walk before leaving on this week’s vacation and only later did I realize what it was. A town in the north was having a city-wide march (I still don’t know in honor of what), and Elie’s group was selected to march along with them – not for protection, but for the presence. To say – we are the army, but we are part of you and your city too.
So they walked and enjoyed the slow pace compared to what they normally have to do. They walked only with their guns and yes, in the hotter dress uniforms, but no heavy backpacks, no bulletproof vests. For them, it was, almost literally, a walk in the park. If anything, the soldiers would have wanted the people, the children and families, to walk faster – because the sooner they finished it, fun though it was, the sooner they could leave and get home.
But it wasn’t quite to be – once they had finished this 9 kilometer walk, not very tired compared to what other training they have had – they found that the mayor wanted to thank them and hand out medallions honoring the occasion. Elie and his soldiers smiled. Elie and his soldiers were honored. Elie and his soldiers took the medallions – and then, Elie and his soldiers hurried home for a week of being what they so rarely have a chance to be anymore – free, irresponsible if they want, answerable to few or none, able to sleep when they want, eat when they want, do what they want, go where they want – in short – ahead of Elie is a week in which he gets to be himself (and I have the joy of watching it).