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Love of a Soldier
I never wanted to say goodbye to you and I know you never wanted to say goodbye to me. I didn’t want to wait till you returned home to hold you. “I’m sorry,” you said. “I have to do this.”
“Why?” I demanded, tears streaming down my face. “Why? There are plenty of young men to fight this war. Why do you have to go?”
You cupped my cheek and smiled gently, fighting the tears filling your eyes. “You know why. I cannot hide behind others who would fight this war for me. I have to go.” A single tear rolled down your face. “I’m sorry,” you repeated.
You picked up your bag and kissed me goodbye before jumping on the train, which was already moving. I ran next to your window until I couldn’t keep up anymore, trying so hard not to cry. I couldn’t stand to see you go, but the train was picking up speed and I just couldn’t run fast enough anymore. You were officially a WWII soldier, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I was crying hard as I drove to my apartment in town. The next morning, it was all I could do to force myself to go to the diner and take orders. I tried to smile, but it just seemed so wrong.
A month later, I received a letter from you.
I miss you every day more than I did the day before. The only thing that keeps me sane is the thought that it will only be a year before we’re together again.
I’m not supposed to write about the army’s plans, but I can say that we are going to take action soon. As much as I’m afraid of what may happen on the battlefield, I also look forward to serving and protecting my country—and you.
Please wait for me. I love you more than life itself and I cannot wait until I can hold you in my arms again, knowing that you’re safe and that you’re mine. You’ve turned my world upside-down, and the memory of your beautiful face keeps me going every day.
I cried as I picked up a pen to write back to you.
Jacob, my love,
Please, please be safe in battle. I look forward to the day when we are reunited, and the very idea that that may not happen wraps my heart with barbed sorrow. I know you’re the best soldier that’s over there, I just know it, but I still worry every day. I miss you already and I love you more now than ever before.
As you read this letter, please remember me. Please remember our plans and remember me on the battle field.
All is well at home. The fields are green and the diner is getting more customers than ever. Most mornings, I don’t even have time to sit, which is nice. I don’t have time to think of how much I miss you while I work. But still, I have time to think about you at night.
Let the year that stands between us fly faster than an eagle, so that the days turn to hours and the hours to mere second until we are together again.
The months passed and I got a letter from you every few weeks. After awhile, I didn’t cry anymore when I read the letters. Then, one day, HE walked into the diner.
HIS handsome features were slightly gaunt, but HIS brown eyes burned bright with life and vitality. HE asked for my number, and I wrote it down on a napkin.
When HE called me that night, I didn’t resist as HE talked about HIM and I being a “we.” WE would go watch the movies. WE would have a picnic.
WE followed through with these plans, and WE became a couple. I stopped thinking of you when I couldn’t sleep. I thought of HIM. Then, I wrote it. The letter that shattered your world.
It breaks my heart to write this, but I have found another love. I can’t live with the worry anymore, with the worry that you’ll be killed and I’ll be left alone. I’m sorry. I can’t marry you, because as soon as we’re married, you’ll be called back to fight again, and I’ll be left with a broken heart and a head full of worry and sorrow. Please come home. Please, if only to be my friend, come home and live a life without violence.
And you did come home, six months later, when there was a different ring on my finger. HE and I were reading the newspaper, curled in front of the fire together, when you knocked on the door.
“No, Adrianna, ignore it,” HE begged. I placed a gentle finger over HIS lips and answered the door, and there you stood. Handsome, strong, rugged, a scar stretching from your jaw to your forehead.
“Jacob,” I whispered. “You’re home.”
“I’m home. I’m home to stay,” you whispered, reaching for my hand. Then you saw the ring that HE gave me. “I had to come see you.”
HE came to stand behind me. “Adrianna, is this man bothering you?”
You bristled. “I could ask her the same question.”
“Jacob, Travis, please!” I begged. “Don’t do this.”
But the two of you were already in a rage, your faces red, your fists clenched. HE threw the first punch, pushing me behind him first. After a few punches, I managed to push my way between you and HIM. “Stop!” I demanded. “Stop this madness now!”
“You were my world, Adrianna,” you whispered. And you stalked away. Just like that, you left me alone.