Christmas Dream

February 4, 2009
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Eight AM, December 24, 2008
Her eyes bulge open as she starts gasping for air
'Just a dream, just dream, just a dream,' she chants to herself
It was a dream, a nightmare, and one of her most precious memories
It had been one year, 11 months, and 29 days since he left
What a perfect Christmas it had been in 2006
He had finally proposed beneath the mistletoe
But, the day after was another story


She remembers the scene so perfectly, as if it had happened yesterday
Everything was so perfect, maybe too perfect
It had snowed during the night, and now everything was coated in a beautiful blanket of white
Suddenly, at 12:27, while they were eating leftover ham for lunch, a car parked in front of their apartment
A minute or two later, there were four precise knocks on the door
She watched him go answer the door
He was wearing red flannel pants with a sleeveless white tee, showing his perfectly cut arms
He looked indescribably beautiful
After nine minutes at the door, he finally turned around
His face looked tortured
He shut the door and strode back to the table in seven steps
She felt the questions on her face
Then he explained everything
He was being called for a tour of duty in Iraq that would last 16 months
That was where the memory stopped
His tour was lasting a little longer than 16 months


All she wants this Christmas is for him to come home
To see his face, and hold him close
To have him there, and real, not just a short video, letter, or picture
All day, she plays with the ring around her left ring finger
Engraved on the inside in script it says in one simple word, 'Forever'
With their apartment decorated once again for the holidays, she can't help but think of him
After torturing herself enough for today, she decides to go to sleep
Hopefully things will be better in the morning
Not likely, but she hopes
Before she lets her eyes droop shut, she prays, and prays, and prays
'Let him come home. Please, bring him home.'
1:30 AM, December 25, 2008
The phone shrills on the rack, waking her before her dream could even start
She slugs toward the phone and mumbles 'Hello'
With the first word he said, she knew it was him
'Baby, I'm coming home.'





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