Another Good-Bye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 3, 2008
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The ride there was the worst part. Awkward silence and an air of discomfort hung among us. The wind whipped silently outside as the snow descended softly. I stared out the window, watching the white dust fall, trying to keep my mind off our destination. The passing scenery was already beginning to feel like a distant memory of the final moments I would spend with him. Ignoring my thoughts, I lay my head on the seat and dozed.

I woke to my mom's voice telling me we had arrived. Outside the cold was merciless, piercing my thin jacket. “I told you to wear a coat,” she reprimanded. I murmured something under my breath while grabbing one of the duffel bags.

Inside the warehouse, families just like ours waited in rows of seats, talking amongst themselves. Children were running around playing and laughing. I envied them. Their minds were free of worry. I remembered when I was young and felt this burden less, but that had changed now.

My brother tapped my shoulder and pointed to a table of refreshments set up against the wall. Smiling, we ran toward it. We joked and laughed together. My dad took a few pictures, and for a while everything felt okay, like just another trip to the base.

Then reality struck: “All soldiers, please report to the front for departure,” the intercom blared. My mother let out an anxious sigh, covering her face with her hands.

“I love you guys. Take care of your mom 'til I get back,” my dad said, gathering us all together for a hug. In the huddle I could see my mother's face streaming with tears and feel my brother trembling. My heartbeat quickened, and I felt a lump in my throat. We let go and watched my dad head to the front.

A small ceremony followed, and the commander made a speech about the honor and pride of the departing soldiers. Then, row by row, each battalion marched toward the buses that would take them to the airport.

The room was filled with emotion, sobbing, and flushed faces. Parents and children held each other in tight embraces as they watched their family members leave.

When it came time for my father's row, my mom shouted, “I love you, baby,” in a croaky voice, and my brother cried out and ran to him for one last hug. I stared into the distance, unable to watch the sad sight.

After all the rows had filed out, the buses rolled away, honking good-bye. I swallowed hard, allowing it to sink in, and believing he would return. My mom held me and my brother tight, her face covered in tears, whispering words of reassurance. I smiled dimly, knowing that we would be okay; God would protect my father.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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shadow matrix said...
May 20, 2010 at 11:16 am
i love you story  can relate to wat you wrote it is awsome thank you for writting keep
riedel said...
Nov. 15, 2009 at 11:52 am
Omg,I had a friend who had to go through this and I neverknew how to make it better ...But now I no that I couldnt have done anything that I did... just be there b/c if I had to deal with this I would be going through H-e double L
LOL -It was great...keep on doing what you did cause it was so true and amazing ....Sorry bout your dad ....
windblossom said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 3:08 am
Beautifully written!
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