Saba tightened the laces on her boots and tucked in the ends, hoping that would keep them tied and neat looking under inspections.
She was hungry this morning and wanted to eat breakfast straight away. She didn’t want to relace and retie her boots, something she did at least three times every morning. She brushed them off with a rag and then went about straightening the gold buttons on her jacket. Her epaulets weren’t quite straight. She had worked twice as hard for hers, her uncles had made sure of that, so she really should make sure they were displayed correctly.
Others were whispering as they buttoned, laced, and tied lazily. She would be too if she could expect the same standards as them. They had it easy, at least compared to her and they knew it. Some of them would pay when she out ranked them because she would outrank them someday. Some were smarter than others. The ones that weren’t smart sneered at her when she had to redo an exercise until she got it perfect, even though her worst attempt had been superior to their best. Did they really think they did it perfect the first time? She remembered them all. She watched them just as they watched her.
The sound of trunks slamming and papers rattling marked the approach of the Commandant. Lines formed as she brushed her shoulders and took her place. She stood at attention head up and with confidence like uncle Sherad had taught her. “Confidence can cover a multitude of sins,” he always said with a laugh and a wink when he took her for rides on his war chargers. That had stopped over two years ago and she missed him terribly.
The room was deadly quiet as the door creaked open. Someone would catch flack for the creak, hopefully not her, but one of the staff. Jameson stepped in, stood at attention, and announced Uncle Shen.
Uncle Shen nodded as he came in allowing Jameson to take a relax position.
It was his monthly inspection of their group. Everyone felt so honored that he deemed to inspect them personally once a month. Such an honor they had whispered. Everyone stood a little taller. Not her though. She knew the real reason. He came to make sure her life was harder than everyone else’s.
He walked down the line. He turned around and walked up the other side where she was. He barely glanced at her. His eyes seemed mildly out of focus and she noticed the dark circles. She didn’t need to spend all that extra time with her boots after all. That’s how these things worked. He tugged on his belt, nodded to Jameson, and strode out without a single word.
I used “uncle” as my writing prompt today. Pick a word and write.