His Dearest Victory

The following is a short story inspired from an excerpt from the memoir Sergeant Nibley, Ph.D by Alex Nibley: 

“The father was holding the hand of a boy about 10 years old and speaking to him softly; the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed to the sky, stroked his head and seemed to explain something to him.”

“We are soldiers. The biggest battle you’ll ever face starts now.”


That’s how his father saw his own life to be: a never-ending battle that held both victories and failures. He was intent on passing this on to the small being he held in his hands.

His little being; wrapped securely in newly purchased blankets to ensure his surefire comfort. His belly rose and fell with each of his tiny breathes. A pouted lower lip and a small, pudgy nose: all enveloped by rosy milk skin. How were they worthy of owning—of creating, this masterpiece? A small smile played the fathers lips. Pride overcame his emotions. This was certainly his dearest victory.

He quickly raised his forehead to his lips, as if every moment spent not giving him his admiration was worthless. After all, this being made his everything worth it.


“We are soldiers.”

“No, dad!” He peered from under his favourite blanket, barely visible as he lay beneath a pillow fort. “I’m a superhero with a side kick and look— my cape. I can fly with the cape to be super fast and catch the thieves before they steal my stuff!” The boy’s eyes shone with delight, eager to challenge his father as his mind grew along with his body and soul. Nowadays, he was curious. He poked, he prodded, he touched, he tasted, he smelled, he listened; as if any moment not spent discovering this miraculous world around him was worthless.

His father’s expression softened. His cheeks were imprinted with delicate, almost unnoticeable laugh lines. The father admired them; they shouted to the world that he was, indeed, blissful. Who wouldn’t be— with a miracle like his son to love, to hold, to experience?


“You are a soldier.”

“No, dad.” The boy shook his head. “I’m really not. We’re really not.” He stood frigid. He was looking nowhere. Like the other numerous bodies around him, he looked pale. His ill, thin body shivered in the heat coming from ahead. His hands, like his fathers’, stood limp at his sides. His shoulders drooped. His brows were constantly furrowed; his eyes constantly vanquished.

“Shush, son, and listen to me,” He had not the effort to smile. He had not the effort to fabricate the present from his child.

“They are thieves. They seek the valuable. They seek to take your superhero— stomp all over it. They are heartless.” His father pointed to the sky and stroked the head of his frail, dearest, victory.

“But if that superhero can fly all the way up there, they can not stomp on him.”

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2 thoughts on “His Dearest Victory

  1. Dearest Ayisha,

    Oh my goodness–this is so amazing!! The way in which you brought a mere moment into a larger, heartbreaking, story is very unique. I must say: I wanted more!! 🙂

    Your tone and the subsequent depiction of the father and son relationship was just saturated in deep emotion. I felt as if I myself experienced the bond that the father and son had; it is a natural human trait to empathize, yet your tone and voice made me truly connect to the tragic loss of human connection in Nibley’s account like never before. Often, I find it hard to do this in my own writing, but your voice just knocks it out of the park. Even the short, precise paragraphs help to emphasize the baroness of the situation, and how grey it must have been. Also, your parallelism when stating the word “worthless” was incredible. You showed three different scenes where the word was either used or represented, and I felt the presence of the meaning of the word throughout the post. Awesome!! 🙂

    The succession of the paragraphs within your flow was utter genius. I felt, as a reader, the slow descent into the loss of childhood imagination. I don’t know if that was intentional, but nevertheless: GENIUS.

    Overall, your piece truly envied from within me powerful emotions, and I thank you for writing this beautiful post!! I love it.

    Much love,

    Carmen 🙂

    1. Dear Carmen,

      Thank you so so much for uttering such kind words about this piece. It literally made me smile and say “aw.”
      I’m grateful that you took the time to read it, and I’m grateful to you also for acknowledging some of the strategies, such as parallelism, that I attempted to use in this story.
      It’s fantastic to know it left you wanting more. 🙂

      Thanks again,

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