Our Reflection

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I looked up into our reflection on the mirror, our eyes met and he smiled. His short blond hair and murky blue eyes had a tendency to pierce my soul and make me feel incredibly safe. He kisses the side of my head softly and wraps his arms around my waist; he stood behind me and held me close. I want to embrace him just as tightly as he does me but I can tell he wants something, and I most likely won’t be happy with what he wants to say. He is always so mysterious and is constantly observant, I guess you could call him my little mystery. Keith looks at me and tells me that I’m beautiful, yet I feel like it’s a lie. He says he has something to tell me. I look down pull slightly away and listen attentively to what he has to say.
Keith confuses me; he always seems like he’s protecting himself from becoming too close to me, so that we stay on a safe level at all times. But I don’t want to be on a safe level all the time; I want to grow with him emotionally. Keith and I have been dating for a year and a half now and I feel like recently we’ve become closer than we ever were before. I feel like I need him to be open with me, he constantly changes his mind and his thoughts and I really wish he would just be honest and constant. Not that he is a dishonest person, Keith is one of the more honest people in my life, but he keeps a lot from me and I’m very aware of it. I love everything that I know about him... the parts that I don’t know about on the other hand is the barrier that keeps me from falling in love with him. Then again, maybe that’s not it at all. Then again, maybe he shares everything with me. I don’t know what he feels; I guess that’s what makes him my mystery.
He starts off his question in the same dramatic way he always does, no matter what he’s asking for, whether it be for a dollar to use on the snack machine or for an Xbox 360 for his birthday. He uses his hands to smoothly flip my torso to face him. He finishes his introduction and starts to ask the important part of his question.
“So you know, I complete my training on Wednesday right?”
“Mhm” I nodded and mumbled.
“Well I have been putting off telling you what happens after Wednesday but I thought I should tell you that I ship out and begin active duty. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but I didn’t want you to dread it but…”
The first sentence sent my heart sailing into my stomach, my blood pulsed rapidly and my face heated up. I parted my lips to say something yet nothing would come out. He continued to speak but most of it was a blur, he sounded like a deep echo in a tunnel. Keith had enrolled in the marines, because he felt that he was doing something to help others, straighten himself out after a somewhat wild high school career, and get to go to college for free. He was intelligent and great at whatever he put his mind to, and I never understood why he wanted to join the marines as badly as he did. He was great at math, and quite the people person. He could start up a conversation with anyone and make them feel welcome and comfortable. I managed to catch occasional fragments of what he was saying through the blur, and figured out he was asking me if I was willing to wait for him until he comes back.
When he had finished, I vomited stupidity, I think I responded with something like sure, whatever I said it wasn’t a graceful choice of words. Keith slipped two fingers underneath my chin and tilted my head up till he could see my face. Sympathetically, he said “I’m sorry”. I looked at him and the sight of his face made tears flow out of my eyes and down my cheeks. I felt so powerless, this wasn’t the same as him being gone for boot camp and not being able to talk to me over the phone. He would really be gone.
The next week we continued to see one another nonstop. He answered most of my questions about the military and things he feared. We did things together that we had always talked about doing and had one of the best weeks of my life. I felt so close to him, like nothing could touch us, I felt on top of the world. I felt like him leaving couldn’t keep us apart, I felt invincible, I felt strong. When it came to the day he left, I gave him a new wallet with my picture in it, since he had lost his during having fun with me that week. He kissed me and walked on to the bus.
In October of that year, an odd number called my cell phone, I called it back, and it was Keith’s mom. She told me very calmly that Keith had been killed where he was stationed, nobody would tell her where or when because it was still an ongoing mission. There was no more waiting he was gone. I was no longer strong. The only person I ever felt cared was dead and I needed to pull myself together for a memorial service.





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