I watched as Jade quietly peered into Max’s room. She slipped in and walked over to her bed. Her breathing was even and fairly quiet, the only sound in the room. Jade sat on the edge of her bed, seeing Max sleep rather peacefully. It had probably been some time since she had seen that. The last time was before my death, when she was a kid. All the time before my sister had been studying so hard to become a medic. I’m sure like me, Jade wished to return to the old times.
Pulling the blanket, Jade tucked Max in and moved towards the door.
“Are we doing anything tomorrow?” Max asked, turning in her blankets to look at Jade. Seeing our friend freeze she moved and sat next to my sister once more.
“We can if you’d like. If you want, we can go visit his grave,” Jade suggested. I looked to Max’s calendar on her desk. It was indeed going to be the sixth year anniversary of my death. Scratching her head, Jade sighed. “I’ll get us the day off. How does that sound?” Jade had this way of still talking to Max like she was a child, and Max simply accepted this. She had probably grown so accustomed to being treated like a kid around Jade that to her it was normal.
“That would be nice. I haven’t been there in a while,” Max said, nodding in agreement to her suggestion.
“You put flowers on his grave last year, right?”
“Yeah, but it’s not the same. I can look at his head stone all I want and just wish he were alive and back. No matter how hard I wish, I know it won’t come true… He did not get the opportunity to see me grow up. To see how I turned out. After all that hard work…” Max said, trailing off. Jade lay down next to her, and hugged my sister tightly.
“I bet he’s watching you from heaven. And you know what he’s telling the other angels? Marcus is saying how wonderful of a sister he has. How much of a saint you are,” Jade said, poking her nose. Max scrunched her nose, I could tell not believing a word her older sister figure had just said.
“No way. I am no saint. If I were, I’m sure I could have done more to help those in the field,” Max objected. She was always this way; rejecting compliments that she bluntly deserved.
“You, Miss Maxine, are way too modest for a kid your age. Try and actually accept a compliment, okay?” Jade laughed seeing a blush appear on my sister’s face at the mention of her real full name.
“Okay, fine…” Max seemed to trail off, her thoughts taking her elsewhere. “Jade, can I ask you something?”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Why do you call Mark by his full name? Our parents didn’t even call him by his full name. And yet that’s how you refer to him. I’ve never understood why.”
“When I tried calling him Mark, it just didn’t suit him coming from me. So I eventually tried Marcus and decided that it fit him when I said it. And he just accepted it,” Jade explained. I watched her yawn and stretch a little. “Scoot over. I’m too tired to move to my own room,” Jade said, slipping under the blanket and burrowing a little. Max did as she was told and made checked her alarm clock. I expected them to fall asleep, but boy was I wrong.
“Hey Max, I hear you were flirting with some soldiers today,” Jade said. I could almost picture her grinning under the blankets.
“W-Who told you that?” Max inquired, sounding really uneasy as a blush rose in her cheeks.
“Oh, I just heard some of the guys talking. Tate actually told me he heard it while speaking with a few of his officers. Seems to me a few of them have taken a liking to you.”
“No way. They just like watching me fight because I’m the only girl out there. There are way hotter women in the offices.” Jade snorted at her remark.
“Yeah, sure. Believe what you want. You just won’t admit that some of the guys on the field with you actually like you for who you are, not just for your ass.”
“Hey!” Max said, looking at Jade. After a few moments they laughed and stared at the ceiling together.
“Six years. I cannot believe he’s been gone six whole years. It’s just hard to comprehend.”
“Yeah. Imagine by now you two would have kids and been happily married. Screw the fraternization rules. I’m sure there would have been some way that you married to just be able to sleep with each other.”
“Max! How can you say that with such a straight face!” Jade looked up at my sister and than laughed, ruffling her hair.
“Then again, you learned that from me. So I really shouldn’t be worrying about your personality. Really I should be worrying about you getting a man. Come on, you’ll be eighteen soon. It’s time for you to start dating and experience the world.”
“But you’ll miss out on all the amazing things in life. You know, sex, love, that kind of thing.”
“I’ll pass on that thanks. I’m rather enjoying my current life.”
“Sure, you say that now. But down the road, you’ll be wanting to get laid. Just wait.” Max looked at Jade, a blank expression on her face. “Don’t act like it’s not funny or true. Because it’s both.”
“Go to bed Jade. It’s late… And already the next day,” Max said, looking at her clock and seeing the red numbers glare at her. “Great.”
“Aww, its fine. Just sleep in. We have the day off, remember? So no worries there.” Jade rolled over, her back to my sister. After several moments of silence, Max finally spoke.
“What kind of flowers are we putting on his grave?”
“Carnations,” the two said in unison before laughing again. I felt bad for their neighbors, whoever they were. Having to hear them talk for almost an hour and just suddenly burst into laughter would drive anyone crazy. I’m sure if I were still alive I would have come in and told them to go to bed. But this kind of interaction was good for Max. I’m sure it had been a while since she had a good long girl talk. The last time that happened was probably when she was training and staying in the barracks. Really though, it was hard to tell.
They giggled and talked for another hour, mostly about men on the base and past events. It was a good time for catch up, as they had yet to do that in the past month Max had been staying at Jade’s base. Eventually they dozed off, probably incoherently chatting with the other and barely understanding what they were saying.
Standing in the sand watching hell on earth was nothing compared to seeing how many came to toil in this war. I’m positive none of the soldiers knew exactly what they were fighting for, but merely that they were wrestling with some force. But there was still unrest all these years.