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A wounded Heart

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It was 1958, in a little town called Baldwin in Maine, when he, Ben McNawel, proposed to me. “I do… I do!” I proclaimed as he sat on one knee in the restaurant isle. His blue eyes started to gleam with joy, and the light seemed to graze his jet black hair with a hint of shine. All of a sudden a look of concern hit his face. “Really? You really want to marry me?” I looked at him with more love than I could give and simply said, “More than anything in the world, I love you!” After I proclaimed my love, his face seemed to gently go back to the joy he once had before. I could barley control myself, everything was going so perfect until a week later on September 20.
I can still remember the day, I was woke up by my alarm clock and then decided to go for a run around the block. I was in the shower when I heard the phone ringing, so I got out and picked it up. It was Ben, but something just didn’t feel right. It was silent for a minute or two, than I heard the worst three words I could of imagined came out of his mouth; “I was drafted.” I dropped the phone in shock and started to weep. I could hear his voice telling me not to cry and that everything was going to be okay but I knew that things as I knew were never going to be the same.

My Ben wasn’t the only one in Baldwin to be sent to Vietnam, his best friend Eric had been drafted too. This all in all was a relief because I knew that someone was going to watch out for him while he was at war. Although this was good news, I was still sick to my stomach. The thought of loosing my new fiancé made me sick.

He was scheduled to leave on the 30th of November at the naval base Long Binh. Days started to turn to months and the date of his departure was now two days away. We were inseparable those two days. We were filling what seemed to be the last two days of our lives together with as many memories as possible. It felt like the first summer when we were together all over again. I was so in love with him my heart tore apart with just the thought of him dying in Vietnam. But I knew that he was a strong willed man that would do anything to come home and marry me. The day finally came, and he had to leave me for what felt like forever. Some of his close friends and family all met at the train station to give him their love and support. He said bye to his mom and dad than looked at me. I was sobbing and I could see he was holding back tears to try to stay strong. He wrapped his strong, long arms around me and kissed me goodbye. I’ll never forget the words he spoke to me before he left. “I love you baby, and I’ll see you real soon okay. Take care of yourself.”
The days dragged on, as the time Ben was gone got longer. I tried to keep myself busy most of the time so I didn’t have to think about him, but I always did. It was the worst at night because I was by myself, but he was always there with me in my dreams. Which made me feel close to him since I barley ever got a letter from him. When I did it was always on the same day the 8th of every month. One day I received a letter from Ben telling me of all the good times him and Eric had and it seemed to me that he was trying to make me believe it wasn’t hard being there. I knew he missed me though because he always wrote a whole page telling me how much he brags about me to the other soldiers, and how much he missed and loved me. The next month’s letter was different though. It started off like this,
Dear Suzan, I am stationed to come home next month! I can’t wait to see you! I have some bad news. I was in the middle of crossfire when I got my leg shot at. I was trying to save Eric’s gun that he accidentally dropped running across the street. I’m not sure what they are going to do with my leg yet. It tore into several muscles and a little bit of bone. The thought of you helped me keep going through the pain. I thank God everyday for you, because I don’t think I would of made it without you in my heart. I love you and I will see you soon.
Love, Ben
It finally came the day when I got to see my love again. It took me nearly two hours to get ready. I had to look perfect. It felt as though it was years since I had seen him. I felt tears coming out of my eyes in the excitement that I was going to see my Ben again. I pulled into the station where he had written to pick him up. The bus pulled up and there was a huge crowd waiting to see their loved one come back. Man after man came off the bus, and finally I saw him! My heart jumped, I had missed him so much. I jumped into his arms and gave him a big kiss. He kind of twitched; hesitant I asked him what was wrong. He bent over to pull up his pant leg. Little by little I saw the damages that the bullet had done to his ankle and foot. It was still wounded and half of his foot had to be amputated. I was in shock but I didn’t mind, I was just so happy to see him home and safe.

A couple months later we arranged our marriage. It was going to be the best moment of both of our lives. Ben was determined to walk, instead of roll, down the isle. He had to take therapy for 3 months before the wedding just so he could learn to walk again. It seemed to be a long process, but he was a determined man and caught on fast.
The day of the wedding had arrived finally and I just couldn’t wait to be married to Ben. One moment I didn’t know if I would ever see the love of my life again, than the next moment I was walking down the isle. It seemed to go by fast, and before I knew it we promised each other our lives. Our relationship had taken a lot of twist, but in the end it really was a happily ever after story.



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