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War of Love

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“Dear Sarah,
You know how much I want to be with you, next to you. But under the circumstances I can’t. The country needs me, but sometimes that need seems meaningless whenever I think of you. I wish I could run up and stay in your arms forever. I pray every day that the war would end soon and I would come to you.
Things aren’t exactly pretty here; too much of bloodshed, terror and nuisance. We wake up every day and thank our lucky stars for being alive. I don’t want to scare you, not really, but I just want you to know how much I want to stay alive for you, for US.
Anyways, I think I should head out now, nobody wants a court-martial at a time like this, not that they will actually give it, but still. Take care of yourself Sarah. I miss you. I love you.
Your always loving husband
Jake.”

I carefully read the letter, analyzing over every word, reading between the lines. The letter arrived this morning, bundled between all the pills and pay phones cheques. I hadn’t even noticed it, until the end, when the tattered stamp on a pale envelope caught my eye. I certainly wasn’t expecting it, because through a years’ time, Jake never wrote a letter. We always talked on the mess phone he was allowed to use. But never had either of us had felt the need of communicating over written words of affection.
I had almost read the letter a million times till then. I sat on my lumpy bed, interlinked in the buddle of my quilt, his side of the bed still clean and unruffled. The room was only lit by the bed side lamp; probably enough light for me to read the words my husband had quoted for me. My first reaction to the letter was wonder, which soon turned to a tender undescribed feeling of emotion and by the end I was whipping the unwanted tears streaming down my face. Even though the letter was simple, somewhat exuberant but I had seen and read the hidden poetic meaning, the uncovered words of affection and the feeling of want penetrating through the paper.
All I wanted was to be with the man I married, to be with the one I loved with all my heat to an extend of blindness. I slowly folded the creased paper once again, and placed it near my heart; my palm covering it. The tears come easily now. They always do. The pain of being separated, the wait and the fear of any unforeseen conclusion to my love was just too agonizing. Sniffing, I thought of switching off the lamp and going to bed, but sleep was out of question.
With war raging on the borders and my husband being a part of it, even tuning into the news was a dangerous deed. I was always apprehensive of the fact of hearing something I never want to hear. Let alone to digest what I heard until now about the casualties that include Jake’s best friend. Before I got married to him, he told me that he was a solider and the passion of doing something for the country was always pulsing in his blood, ready to ooze out at the slightest of issue. And when I first saw him in his army uniform, falling head over heels was just a fictional thing; but back then it truly happened. His brown khaki uniform complimented his fair complexion, and his dark mysterious eyes popped out. He came dressed like this to ask my parents my hand in marriage. And I could bet over anything I have, that he not only won over them, but swooned me off my feet as well.
“That was the plan” he winked playfully at me, when I confided him on about how smitten I was.
At the time of our marriage, a war was a ambiguous sight. But just like every bad news in life, war too never came with red flags waving or with horns on its head. It just happened, right after a week of our marriage.
When the call came for all the soldiers to gather at the border; Jake and me spend our last night together just talking about the possible outcomes; of war, of him, of us. He never let me jump to the dramatic end, because maybe he knew that he will come back and resume with the life he left off almost a year back. That night I wanted to believe every single word he said, and agree to anything he wanted. That night I wanted to give off all the worries and live with him because I never knew when a night like this would come.
I recall the time, in the middle of the night when he got up and announced that he can’t leave, he can’t leave everything like this. Despite the needs of his country, his own personal need were probably more important and that he’d rather spend his life with me than fighting for his godforsaken country. And at that time I knew, it wasn’t Jake’s true self speaking. It was this little guilt inside him that spoke, the frustrations he felt spoke and the fear of being away spoke. I let him say whatever he can, thinking that he should get it out of his system before I myself speak. Once done, I turned up to him and spoke one sentence:
“I want you to go.”
His eyes are still so fresh in my brain, heck everything about him is. He looked at me with his eyes sparkling of what I thought was gratitude and affection; he faced me, and concealed me into his warm arms. Nevertheless, now I feel like I should’ve said something different, done anything to stop him from going; but in my heart I knew I did the right thing. In hindsight, the entire wait might just be fruitful.
I don’t recall the time when I finally drifted to slumber. Even the dream seemed too real, and all consisting of Jake in his uniform, with a big bulky gun in hand. When the shrill of the doorbell woke me up with a startle I realized that I still held Jake’s letter in hand. Putting it aside, and untangling myself out of the quilt, I got out of bed and made my way groggily towards the door. I caught the sight of the clock on the kitchen wall, which announced 7 am. Wondering it might either be the milk man or the newspaper boy with bill in hand, I opened the door.
What I saw on the other side never crossed my mind. Flabbergasted, I stood there with my eyes wide open, and mouth ajar.
“Jake” was all I was able to whisper.
He stood on my doorway, dressed in his brown khaki uniform, four shiny badges on the collar and black leather boots with mud covering its surface. His hair a bit shambolic, probably from combing his hand through it all this time and cheeks flushed. His pink lips were turned into a lopsided grin and his fair skin was a bit tanned; probably from being outdoors a lot during war. But his eyes did complete justice to my memory of them; same twinkle shone in the bright light, and so mesmerizing that I kept staring into it for what seemed like a life time.
I was so mind-boggled at this preposterous sight of him in my door way, that I thought he was just a mirage. My mind started believing the fact that I was probably still dreaming until his arm reached my face and whipped away the tear trickling down my cheek. His touch was soft and tender, just like it was at the last night we spend together. With that, I fell into his welcoming arms and let out all the emotions I had bottled up inside me. Fear, anger, love, hate, want, and disbelief all came rushing out just like an overflowing flood bank. Jake caressed my back and carried me towards our living room.
I let myself lose all the control I had plastered all these days in his absence. I let go of the entire pretense I had mastered of me being strong. I felt like a fragile flower in his strong protecting hands as he made me settle in his lap on the sofa set we had planned to sit during long hours of movie marathons, but never got the chance to do so. I turned towards his face and looked into his deep eyes and asked solemnly ignoring the slight blurred vision cause by the tears.
“For how long?”
He smiled and answered me in one word before his velvet lips dissolved mine in his, and the butterflies in my stomach let lose, flying out and connect our embrace. That’s when I lost all control, I think we both did.
“Forever.”



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