A Lost Husband

By
Emma looks around the room with a feeling of contentment. She notices the television is on and walks over to it. A smile creeps upon her face as she sees the big purple dinosaur dancing around the set. She walks around to the two bodies on the love seat to find Rose drooling on Ethan's arm. It seems like just a few months ago that she came into this world and now she is glowing with life. Ethan, asleep, does not realize that Rose is drooling all over him. As a matter of fact, he does he realize that he is drooling as well. What a funny sight it is to see both of them sleeping and drooling with Barney dancing around on the TV. This is the life I have always dreamed of, Emma thinks to herself. She goes to the bathroom and starts to brush her teeth to prepare for bed. Unexpectedly, the phone rings, RIIIING. Emma rushes to the phone with hopes of answering it before Ethan awakes. As her hand reaches for the phone, she remembers she still has toothpaste in her mouth. Ethan is wide-awake now with the slobber wiped off his face and he laughs to himself at the sight of Emma running back to the bathroom. Ethan answers the phone while Emma is rinsing out her mouth. His smirk quickly turns to a more serious expression. He responds by only saying, Yes, and I understand. Emma returns and sees the fear in his eyes. She asks, What's going on? Then Ethan responds with strength in his voice, I've been drafted. A month has passed and once again, Emma is looking around her house. There is no longer contentment; restlessness has taken its place in her heart. How could everything go so wrong? she now thinks to herself. She looks at all of the packed boxes, the stuffed suitcases, and the moving van out front. Her focus then changes to her hand, more specifically the left ring finger. She looks at the small diamond ring and her eyes glaze over. Ethan comes up from behind her, and seeing her vulnerability, embraces her. She turns around with tears running down her cheeks and says softly and unsurely, How can I do this without you? You're strong, he replies. Ethan stands there holding Emma, regretting ever signing up for the draft. They pull up to a high-class home with only one small convertible car out-front. Your mother has always hated me, Emma exclaims, No she doesn't. She's just upset that I didn't become a doctor like she wanted, and she thinks I dropped out because I fell in love with you. Thus she hates me. She doesn't hate you. Well I don't know what will happen if living here doesn't work out. You will be gone and the baby and I will have nowhere else to go. This is our last resort. I just hope everything works out because I don't know what else we will do. You'll make it work. You always make it work. Just be yourself and I am sure she will love you, and Rose too. They get out of the car. Ethan is holding Rose as if he never wants to let go. They approach the door and Susan, Ethan's mother, comes out to greet her son and Rose but ignores Emma altogether. Ethan can see she is hurting and kisses her cheek, as if to say everything will be okay. Susan goes inside with Rose, and the couple is left on the front porch alone. I promise to write to you every night, and send pictures, and tell you how everything is going. I will send one every day, I promise. They embrace each other one last time and give a good-bye kiss. With tears running down both of their faces, the only thing left to say is, I love you, and, I love you too. Ethan gets in the taxi and Emma wonders when she will see her husband again. She gathers what strength she has left and enters the house to see that Susan is already pampering the baby with new clothes, toys to play with, and a snack in her hand. She doesn't usually have snack for another couple of hours, Emma says. She is too small for her age and must be feeling sad after her father just left her with you, so I thought a snack would make her feel better. Emma looks up and wonders what the rest of the stay is going to be like. If you would show us to our rooms then I can get our luggage out of your living room, Emma says with a weak voice. That's fine; it's down the hall, second door on your right, She says coldly. Emma picks up her bags and starts down the hallway. She looks in the other rooms, a lavish bathroom, a large computer room, and finally her room. It is small and only has one window that faces the back of another house. She puts her things down, returns to the living room, and asks, And where should I put Rose's things? Her stuff will go in with yours of course. Did you think you were going to have separate rooms? I don't want to deal with her screaming at night, Susan replies.
Emma grumbles to herself, picks up Rose's things, and carries them to their new room. It's very packed with a bed, a bassinet, bags of clothes, and toys. There is barely any room to lie on the bed. I'm strong, Emma keeps thinking to herself, I have to be strong. Every night after Rose goes to sleep Emma turns on a soft desk light and pulls out a piece of paper and pencil. She writes pages and pages telling her love how much she misses him, how she feels without him, and how she is trying to stay strong for him and Rose. She tells him to be strong too. Soon this will be over and things will be back to normal.
Weeks pass and there is still no paycheck from Ethan. Emma's saving account is starting to dwindle and must be very conservative about what she purchases. She and Rose are still living with Susan, and things are hard. Every night she wishes that her husband would just come home. She wakes up in the middle of the night from nightmares and writes poetry until she can fall back to sleep. However, Rose sleeps soundly every night. Except on one particular night when she woke up screaming and nothing could calm her. Suddenly, the phone rings and Rose's crying stops. Peculiar, Emma thinks. She quickly answers the phone and speaks, Hello? What? How Are you sure it was him? Is he ok? What? O.k., Thank you. Good-bye. Emma runs into Susan's room. Susan, I just got a call and something has happened to Ethan. They know that he is alive but he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter about an hour ago. They do not know if he is ok. Emma starts crying, They don't know where he is or even if he is ok. He's with a doctor somewhere but that's all they know. He has already changed locations three times and there isn't any more information. Susan blinks her eyes, Okay now start over, tell me everything, but a little slower, she says for the first time with soft emotions behind her words. Emma explains herself and they both go on a rampage of phone calls trying to locate him. Everywhere they call he has either just left or they have not heard of him before. Both Emma and Susan are freaking out. A week passes and they end up both just sitting on the couch in the living room in silence, both wondering what has happened. A priority mail letter comes in that day. They both open it with the anticipation of the news. The letter says, Dear Ms. or Mrs. Krib,
We would like to apologize for the lack of communication thus far and would like to offer a recompense for the inconvenience we have caused. Your son/husband Ethan Krib was injured in the line of duty in Iraq. He has been in a medical facility in Oregon for the past week and half. He has been undergoing many atypical medical surgeries and procedures. He has copious amounts of strength and determination. He has already made progress beyond what was possible. We would like to announce that his return will shortly follow this letter. Thank you for your time and patience. Emma sits there and can only think about the return of her husband. Susan gets up and searches in a dictionary for what half of the words in the letter mean. Emma picks up the phone and begins making phone calls trying to locate Ethan again. She still has no luck. She starts to have nightmares that he will never come home. That he is lost in somewhere between Oregon and home. She wakes every night to this nightmare. Except for this last night, she wakes with a feeling of calm. It is early when she awakens and she gets up as quietly as she can to not wake Rose. However, she is already awake too. She picks her up out of her bassinet and takes her to the living room so the two of them could watch TV. The sun has just risen and a figure appears at the door. Who could that be? Emma thinks to herself. Dahdah! Rose shouts. You said Dada! Oh, but don't be silly that's not Dad. The doorbell rings again. Emma goes for the door and getting closer realizes that it is Ethan. She runs to the door and looks at his face through the windowpane on the door. She throws the door open and jumps to hug him. He becomes a little wobbly and looses his balance. Then Emma notices that he is on crutches. Your leg. I am sorry. What happened? at that same moment Susan had come to the door and exclaims Ethan Your home! Come in come in. The three of them sit on the same couch that just one week before Emma and Susan had been sitting on in despair. Once again, Rose is in EthanÕs arms, as though he has never left. He begins to tell the story, A bomb exploded close by and I was pelted with shrapnel, the majority of it went into my left leg. And I soon found that I lost all feeling in it and just moments later I could no longer move it. They took me to all the best doctors in the U.S. and none of them could repair the damage that was done. So they decided to amputate it and just get me a prosthetic one. Thud thud he taps his hollow foot on the ground. It's ok though. It doesn't hurt anymore, and I can almost walk normal again too. His voice softens, Emma, you don't care right? Of course I care but of course I will love you no matter what! Emma and Susan spoil him rotten all day long and even Rose seems to be in a better mood than usual. The day comes and goes, and Emma shows Ethan the room she has been staying in. Emma begins to brush her teeth and the phone rings. With toothpaste still in her mouth, she leans over and unplugs it. In silence, she rinses her mouth and goes to her room. Ethan is already lying in the bed and Rose is cuddles in his arms. Emma lies down with them and the two of them talk for hours. At the end of the night when they begin doze off, Ethan says, I found where the money from my G.I. check has been going. What do you say that tomorrow we go look at a new house? Sleepily she responds, That sounds like a dream Good, I hated living here when I was a kid, and I still hate living here, especially now that I have my own kid. Thank you for being so strong. I love you. I love you too. Goodnight, they say in unison.





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