The Need to be a Hero

October 18, 2010
" I promise to come home soon. Then you and me, we'll get married and have this beautiful baby of ours." He promised, his hands drifting through my hair softly as he whispers softly in my ear. His other hand is resting on my stomache. We're sitting on the couch, snuggled close, my arms iron bars around him as if i could stop him from leaving. My Beautiful Soilder Boy, off to go save the world. "Do you have to go?" i beg for the upteenth time. He just chuckles and kisses my forehead. "Yes love. I have to go. But we have tonight." And we kissed and talked all night. We talked about everything from the baby growing inside me,the physical proof of our love. We talked about the wedding. We talked about sports and music and tv and everything but the war. And all too soon the bus pulled up and i was left behind on the front porch as he waved goodbye. His black hair cropped short, his emerald eyes sparkling with adventure. I blew him a kiss.I wonder if he ever caught it.
We wrote often and everything seemed to be perfect, like a shimmering glass oranment made of the once broken pieces of my life. I planned my wedding and waited on my beautiful baby. Then i got the letter that made me shout with joy. He was coming home soon! In two weeks! I couldn't believe my luck, he'd be home so soon on leave again!!
That should have been my first clue. Nothing in life is perfect love included and certainly not love itself. I was sitting at our home flipping through Bride Weekly oohing and aahing at the exquisite pictures of smiling brides in white gowns with flowers and the love of their lives. I grinned at the ring on my hand and let myself take a nap, basking in contentment. I woke up to a quick rap on the door. It was night out, frezzing and windy. I opened the door and a few leaves blew inside, autumn in full swing. I noticed a military personnel in full uniform at my door. "Hello sir. How can i help you?" i asked sleepily. "Um. Ma'am, I'm looking for Denise Lando." "That's me." "Here you are." he handed me a white envelope. I wsh i'd never opened it. In a few sentences of crisp black ink my heart shattered, my world was set ablaise and my life was over. I cried out and sunk to my knees, grasping the doorframe for support. In my sorrow and emotional blackhole i noticed the sharp physical pain. "AHHH"i screamed, my hands clutching my abdomen. "The baby!! Oh not the baby too!" i moaned. The officer called for an ambulance and i was rushed into the ER. My parents and Tyler's Dad , his mom being long deceased, where contacted. The emotional stress almost caused a miscarriage. By a miracle of God my baby was ok. He was born at 9:30 at night on the eve of Halloween. I named him Justin, after Tyler's dad and Anthony after mine. Justin Anthony Cooper. He had my hair, springly brown curls , and his father's sparkling emerald eyes. I kissed hm and held him close. Maybe, just maybe my world wasn't ash and soot yet. I had to live, for Justin. And everyday I'd tell him about his big brave daddy, who wen off to save the world.
27 years later i went to another soilder i loved's funeral. I held my grandbabies, Emma and Denise and Jack while Jessica, my daughter in law cried her eyes out. I watched my little grandson walk over to the glossy wood coffin, his blond hair shining in the sun, his emerald eyes soaked with sadness and bravery beyound his years as they handed him the folded flag. He nodded solemnly and put a rose on his father's grave. I watched them bury my son, a soilder like his father before him. Many many years after i was wheeled to another solder's funeral. I held a tiny red haired baby girl with emerald eyes, my great granddaughter Erika, while we buried another soilder i loved. We watched Denise stride proudly to take the flag, dressed in full army uniform and a new scar down the side of her face as we buried her twin. I comforted Thomas, Emma's greiving husband and poor Jack. Jack looked at me and said "Grams, why does everyone in our family die a soilder?". I had to smile through the tears as i told him "Its yor Grand-daddy's fault. Its a fate this whole family suffers from, the need to be a hero."





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