"The calm before the storm is always absolute It was always deceptive other times it was ominous and artificial. The peace felt like a front. A front that hid much more than meets the eye.
“Amaya. Is it true that you’re leaving?” a young woman asked teary-eyed. Amaya Rogers the esteemed Major General of the United States military was leaving. The twenty-five-year-old had no party, feast or send-off. She made no noise about her exit. She woke up in the morning, got ready and brought her things out of the base. She wrote no letters and called no comrades. She seemed to look past anything and everything. She was going through the motions with no real thought in mind. She barely acknowledged the lady in front of her.
With a weak hum, she allowed her eyes to roam the vicinity once more. Her feet tapped repeatedly and her jaws clenched harder. "Where is she?" Amaya thought. She had been outside the military base for two hours now. She'd wanted to leave quietly. She had been the youngest Major General in the military's history. She had made her mark and now she was done. It had taken her months of pleading with the Lieutenant General for her to leave. She didn't want anyone pleading for her to stay. She was done. That was final.
“Yes,” she said. “We’re going to miss you!”, the young woman exclaimed. Amaya knew they wouldn't. No one would. Amaya was secluded and carried out her duties without feeling a need to interact with those below her. The air of arrogance she carried quickly put off people from wanting to approach her. It wasn’t that she was mean, she just wasn’t the speaking type to others. She saw no point in befriending them. It would only give them room to insult her and hide it with the front of being ‘family’.
“I’m sure you will,” Amaya responded, not bothering to look at her. She wanted the young woman to leave. She'd prefer it if it was now rather than later. She didn’t hate the military, not in the slightest. Joining the military had changed her life even! But it was time for something to change. She wanted something new and fresh and she wouldn’t get it from here. She’d gotten what she wanted and now it was time for her to call it a chapter and wrap it up.
She could no longer hold corpses in her hand. She could no longer tell her dying comrades to stay awake and look at her. She could no longer push harshly against bullet wounds. She didn't want that anymore. What she wanted was to get home and dig into the manga she'd ordered for the special occasion. The husbandos were waiting!
A familiar vehicle pulled up. Amaya sighed and allowed a small smile to break on her face. She moved her things into the vehicle quickly and leapt in. She rolled the window up silently patting Alexandra on the back for forcing her to contribute to the big car. If the big car could start moving immediately, she'd like it even more. Alexandra rolled her eyes at Amaya who slumped on the seat.
“Amaya … she can’t see you. The glass is tinted, you know this. You’re killing you’re back unnecessarily,” Alexandra said with a laugh. Amaya sat up slowly, heat rising to her cheeks. She was meant to be ruthless and cold but she was hiding from a comrade of lower standing.
They had known each other for a long time. Amaya had relied on Alexandra through the harder parts of her life. And of everyone in the world, she was now the only one who got to see her like this. The only person to whom Amaya would be comfortable showing this side of her.
“Can we get going? I think Vagrint will start fake crying soon. She always liked to cause a little scene,” Amaya turned on the radio.
“The girl outside.”
“You know her name?”
“I know all my subordinates' names. It’s a basic courtesy,” Amaya said, scrolling through the stations till she found the one she liked.
The drive to their home was laughter-filled. Amaya missed speaking to Alexandra in person. Phone calls were never the same and her military postings were less than favourable. It was over now and Amaya could finally have the city girl life she always fantasized about. The car was parked outside the Alexaya bakery. The ship name Alexandra’s parents often called them. Since the two of them had contributed money to the bakery and signed the lease, it only made sense that their ‘ship name’ would be the store’s name.
Alexandra’s baking skills had shone through even when they were just kids and now she was one of the best bakers in Pennsylvania. Amaya didn't mind plunging her hand into her savings and handing Alexandra half of it to start the bakery. And it paid off like she always knew. She considered it a good investment. The morning pastries had just been freshly baked. Customers were already having their pastries before work. She was happy that she left the military base as early as she did.
The smell of fresh cupcakes hit her nose making her go starry-eyed. She’d missed this. She’d only come to the store 3 or 4 times prior but each time the pastries were enough to leave a lasting impression. She’d tried to substitute them with some other store she had found in her posting areas but it was never up to par. The cupcakes, the scones, the doughnuts and most especially the macaroons. She could never forget about the macaroons.
The pastries were unique and easily topped all the others. “Good morning Miss Alexandra. Miss Amaya, long time no see,” Maxine said.
“Hey Maxine, trust you’re doing well,” Amaya stated. Her voice was plain and monotonous as usual. It lacked life. It was like this anytime she spoke to someone other than Alexandra. The older workers at the bakery didn’t pay much heed but the newer employees mistook it for arrogance. It didn’t necessarily mean anything, Amaya was just like that. They didn’t know why and would rather not ask questions from the former Military General of the United States Army.
“I’m doing well, Alexandra informed us of your coming so we prepared an official welcome gift for you”, Maxine said with a smile earning a small nod from Amaya. The pair took a seat on one of the free tables. Maxine served sakura macaroons and a black coffee to accompany it. Maxine closed her eyes joyfully as she received a smile from Amaya. She didn't give out smiles for free. She'd rarely given them to anyone other than Alexandra and a man she'd prefer not to speak to.
“You know… Charlie moved away a few months ago”, Alexandra started hesitantly. Amaya paused with the macaroon in her hand. She always reacted like this whenever Charlie was involved. Was it regret? Love? Longing? Anger? She had no idea. Even now she didn’t know. She didn't even notice when the macaroon fell out of her hand.