A Soldier's Story

Ezra Azra

Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra
Photo by cottonbro studio at Pexels.
Photo by cottonbro studio at Pexels. 

"Uriah, the Hittite, was one of the thirty-seven mighty men who served king David." King James Bible.

Uriah and David were best of friends. So much so, they were virtually fraternal twins. They lived on adjacent farms. In their teens, they were shepherds.

On a third adjacent farm, Bathsheba lived. An only-child. She was in the same age group as Uriah and David. She was in so close a friendship with Uriah and David, that it was assumed by everyone who knew them, Bathsheba would eventually marry either Uriah or David.

The time came when the boys made plans to graduate from the farms. They planned to go work and live in a Big City. Bathsheba wanted to join them, but her parents would not allow her. Instead, all five agreed that whichever of Uriah and David returned first, financially secure, would marry Bathsheba.

It was Uriah. It was not easy to find well-paying skilled work in the City. David went back to school, Business School, to earn more qualifications. This was going to take him years.

At school, he met Jonathan and Abigail. Jonathan had a crush on Abigail; she preferred David. Because it was clear to David that Jonathan and Abigail were close friends long before David entered their lives, David, painfully, did all he could to stay out of Abigail's life. It was difficult.

Abigail enjoyed Jonathan's friendship, but she could not develop a romantic connection with him because he was lame in one foot, from birth.

The foot had been misshapen. Modern surgery had completely restored it. The same leg was, too, shorter than the other. Modern medicine was of no help. Jonathan wore a prosthetic boot which, most of the time, eliminated most of the difference in his walk. Eliminated the difference to strangers. Not to Abigail.

When she was with David in the absence of Jonathan, she cried burning tears about her not being able to overcome her dislike of Jonathan's disability. David was in an equally impossible painful quandary for not knowing how to help her.

Jonathan had a brilliant mind for business. His class written assignments  consistently earned him the highest  grades. The Nation was in war-time  economics. Opportunities for illegal  transactions were around every corner.  Jonathan could not resist the temptation.   He was making money so easily, he dropped  out of school.

Because of his leg, he could not drive a  car. He began to arrive in chauffeured  luxury vehicles to bring Abigail  to classes, and to pick her up after  classes.

And, then, suddenly, he stopped appearing. After a  week-or-two, military police arrived at  Abigail's home to question her about
Jonathan. He had been one of the  fatalities in a shootout with smugglers of army supplies.

Uriah, with his High School education, enlisted in the National Armed Forces to become a fighter pilot. This was paid employment, and, so, within a year of having left the farm, he was able to return to marry Bathsheba.

They got married. David attended the wedding. The married couple in the City lived not far from David who was married to Abigail. The four lived a happy life in the City, despite the war all around them.

Uriah's fighter jet went missing. Bathsheba was notified he was listed as missing-in-action. She was counselled to assume he was dead because his plane went missing over enemy territory. She would be collecting his salary for as long as she lived his wife.

Bathsheba was so grief-stricken, she spent a lot of time with David and Abigail, in their home. David and Abigail were resigned that they were not going to have children. They had tried and tried, without success.

Bathsheba had hoped if David and Abigail had a baby, her marriage to missing Uriah would be less painful, somehow.

The miracle sometimes happens that barrenness in a marriage is cured by the presence of a true friend like Bathsheba. Abigail and David, unknowingly helped by Bathsheba's true friendship, had a baby. All were happy for a few months.

The baby died.

Abigail's grief was threatening her sanity. This time, Bathsheba made no secret of it. She openly recommended to them they have another baby. They did. They named the baby, Solomon.

Within days of its birth, in a bombing raid of the City, Solomon died in the bombing.

The Nation was losing the war. David and Abigail were out of work. Bathsheba was collecting a war pension because she was still Uriah's wife. The three of them needed that income.

Abigail and David had a third baby. It was born deformed. Abigail, beside herself with grief, murdered her baby, and hanged herself in their kitchen.

Bathsheba was overwhelmed with grief at Abigail's death, the manner of Abigail's death, and by the crime Abigail had committed. Without letting David know of her intentions, she ran away from him.

Bathsheba completely disappeared. Her monthly war pension remained undrawn.

After a year-or-so, David married Michelle. Abigail's death, its manner and place, so weighed on David's mind, he gradually became dysfunctional. Michelle divorced him.

After Michelle, David never married, but lived with five other women, in succession: Noam, Maacah, Aggitha, Abi, and Egla. Each, eventually, abandoned him as hopeless.

Within days of the fifth woman abandoning him, David killed himself by jumping in front of a fast-moving vehicle on a highway. So little of his body was found, there was no funeral because nobody came forward to identify the few remains.

Uriah's fighter jet had run out of fuel. He had made an emergency landing in a shallow lake in enemy territory. He was taken a prisoner-of-war.

He, along with other prisoners of war, and some civilian prison inmates, were put to work on farms.

A woman guard on a farm was attracted to Uriah because of his exceptionally conscientious work ethic. He worked the farm as if it were owned by his family.

The guard researched his background. She learned all about Bathsheba and David and Abigail. The guard decided to not inform Uriah of the facts. Instead, she fabricated accounts of bombings of areas she knew Uriah would associate with where his friends lived. The guard never missed an opportunity to hint to Uriah that his three friends were all killed by the war. Eventually, Uriah lost all hope that he would ever see his wife, Bathsheba, again.

Eventually, the guard proposed an agreement with Uriah. If he officially became a citizen, and vowed to never return to the country of his birth, they could get married. They could live out the war in a town far beyond the reach of the war.

The proposal was especially attractive to Uriah for two reasons.

First, the war was coming to an end; and this Nation, the Philistines, were winning.

Second, while working as a prisoner on a farm, he had discovered that the farm was in territory of Ancient Hittite culture. Uriah's family was of Hittite pedigree. When Uriah asked the guard, she said her family was seven generations pure Hittite. She informed him, in addition, that there were fewer than a dozen Hittite families throughout the Nation.

Uriah agreed to the guard's proposal. They were married. In time, they became parents.

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