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Conditioned to Wait

by Sandra Dosdall about a year ago in Short Story
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For Green Lights

I'm not a Doctor, too many people might have died.

Conditioned to wait. Proceed with caution only once approval is granted. Check weapons, assess immediate threats, wait for notification.

Wait.

It’s the name of the game, what I do. I wait. Formidably trained in all areas of combat, I’m disciplined. I have been assigned a task, a duty to perform. Carrying out that assignment is exactly what I will accomplish. It’s a mission. I will fulfill my obligation, regardless of the outcome. I will never give up.

My parents raised me to be a certain way. That way, was what they perceived to be correct, adequate, or aligned with their beliefs. It was what they knew. Nurtured, caressed and loved as though I was the first and the last child born to man. Education was not only provided; it was the best available. My brain was stimulated from birth by the most influential music composers, linguistics and physical stimuli. My social and emotional well-being was at the forefront of their concern every waking moment of every day. My development was not something that was an afterthought but was planned.

Today I sit, and I wait.

With my weapon in hand, I am fully prepared for what is to come. I wait for my cue.

As a child prodigy, gifted, genius, exceptional were all agreeable ways to describe a little person that utilized the tools provided by elders. I play nine musical instruments; learning the first one is the most challenging; the rest come effortlessly. First, I spoke sign language. My second mastered language was English, then French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Mandarin, which was the most ambitious for me. I mastered Ballet, Swimming, Yoga and Golf. All sports that depended solely on my ability as an athlete.

I sucked at team sports as a child. I liked to maintain control of the playing field. As a unit, achieving a goal by kicking a ball around requires a collaborative understanding of the initiative. As a youngster, I failed to share in the unified objective. Team play was a learned trait for me. It was difficult at first. My Mother started with soccer, then baseball. I played rugby in University on a team that won the National Championship. That was enough. Leading a team to victory has been mastered; I understand the concept.

I see my target. Hold.

I wait for instruction. I wait for my team. I am part of a unit.

A fly lands on my bicep. I choose to ignore it. Instead, I notice the effect of the sunlight on my skin. The warmth of it is soothing. I take a sip of water. My Father wanted me to be a Doctor. A surgeon, actually, but then, don’t all fathers wish for that? Too many people might have died. I would have been a terrible surgeon. Instead, I chose a very different path. One that very few are successful at. Only the elite can do what I do. I am heavily trained. I am the very best in my field.

I glance left and right, watching for the movements of team members. There is a stillness in the air that baits an uneasiness in me. I scratch my cheek and think about lunch. My stomach rattles, reminding me that it will require replenishment soon. I become perfectly still, motionless, my breath being the only token of mortality at the moment. I have my finger on the trigger. I am engaged and waiting for the instruction to act.

I continue to wait. I follow instructions.

I am a team player. I am a leader of men.

My Mother wanted me to marry, have children and have a respectable career—a spralling home in the suburbs, annual vacations to tropical destinations and a Crossover SUV. Instead, I own an almost sterile condo in Manhattan, vacation alone, and utilize urban transit when necessary. I make choices for myself that fit my lifestyle. She considers me her rebellious child.

I lay in the dirt at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. I am not a rebel. I am a protector of people. The Taliban recruit child soldiers from schools, Islamic Religious schools. These children are not always taken by force; these schools are attractive for poor Afghan families. They provide food and clothing for the children. Families willingly hand over their young. Blindly, hand over their young. The young boys participate in military combat once they have completed their religious training and have reached mental and physical maturity, as so deemed by Taliban Leaders.

Conditioned to wait. I follow orders.

The Taliban is in control of Afghanistan.

The President of the United States of America admitted that the collapse of the Afghanistan Government unfolded much more quickly than anticipated. The decision to withdraw troops followed a twenty-year war in this country. Twenty years, thousands of lives lost and two trillion dollars spent. Borrowed money, of course, estimation for total debt repayment is nearly seven trillion dollars and will not be realized in any of our lifetimes. Wasted. The Afghan President fled the country, a coward. Hiding, he left his people to die or be tortured.

I look at the watch I am wearing. Produced by one of the largest tech companies ever established, I notice the time and wait for the green light. My cue to act. I wait for my notice to remove the target. To end this life that has spearheaded the crusade to rule and harm so many. This individual will be replaced. There will be another leader of the Taliban before the sunrises tomorrow; the Afghan people will continue to attempt to flee, fearing additional violence.

I wait as I have been trained to do.

I wait for the Green Light to appear.

I am the first and only female Navy Seal in the history of the United States of America. SEa, Air, Land. It is known to be the most challenging accomplishment in the Navy for men; it was almost impossible for a female. I speak seven languages plus Sign. I was educated at the best schools. I am not married. I have an apartment in Manhattan, and I live alone. I have been instructed to pull my trigger when given the Green Light, likely resulting in the beginning of World War III. I did not become a Doctor because I would have been terrible at that. Too many people might have died.

Instead, I became a protector. I am a Navy Seal.

I wait.

Short Story

About the author

Sandra Dosdall

Taught by some of the greatest literary minds of this century, Sandra's delivery method is reminiscent of her mentors and yet uniquely her own page-turning style. Her novels are suspenseful, unpredictable, & thought-provokingly colorful.

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