One Last Time

By
She knew he was never coming back. He was going off to fight the enemy; there was little chance he would come home alive. “I can’t believe you’re leaving me, honey,” as she ran her finger across his shirt, slowly outlining his newly sewn badges.

He took a final drag of his cigarette and then put it out with his shoe into the dusty road. “I won’t be gone long, baby. Don’t you worry about me.”

“But what if you get killed? What about our plans?”

“Remember what I told you before?” He pulled her close and she buried her head in his shoulder. “Nothing’s gonna happen. Those damn Nazis’ll get scared when we show ‘em what we’re made of, and it’ll be like we never went to war in the first place.”

She tried to believe him. Her mind flashed back to a simpler time, when there was no talk of war, when all they had to worry about was curfew and her daddy’s temper. Back to the night he told her he loved her.

They had been to see the new western at the old dime theater downtown. Afterwards, he drove around the city, stopping to get food from the local diner and a pack of cigarettes. Once they’d finished eating and gotten back in his truck, he reached across the seat and brushed a blond curl from her face. He looked straight into her eyes and held her face. “I love you so much, baby, so much…”

She was jolted back to the present when he tightened his arms around her. She tilted her chin up, memorizing every detail of his face. He leaned in for one final kiss; she savored every moment. This is what true love really is, she thought.

The honk of the bus horn pulled them apart. He reached down to get his bags, his eyes never leaving hers. Right before he got to the bus, he turned around. “Write me, baby. Don’t ever forget that I love you.”

She waved until the bus doors slammed behind him. Only then did she let the tears fall. As the bus drove away, leaving a cloud of dust, she watched him leave for the last time. “I love you too, honey,” she whispered over and over. “I love you so much.”





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