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Everything was the same after Charlie left for the war as it was before. Well, for most. Not for me. But it was expected that I go on with my life, and his family with theirs.
I tried. God only knows how hard I tried to forget him. I tried with every ounce of my being to forget that he had ever made me feel so special.
I'm not real good at most things, but I found that with time, I could forget Charlie. As more months passed, I forgot his eyes, his smile, his laugh, his touch. And I discovered that I was doing a pretty good job of forgetting. Such a good job, in fact, that I forgot the one thing about Charlie I might've wanted to remember. I forgot that we were in love before the war and that he expected us to be when he came home.
I stood, pressed against the wall of Charlie's house, smiling to myself as James and Jill and Mary, and his Ma and Pa and Uncle Max came running outside. Even the dog ran up to greet Charlie. But I didn't. I stayed in my place behind the gutter and twisted my wedding ring - one of my new nervous habits.
I watched as Charlie was smothered with hugs, as he wrapped his arms around all but one of his brothers and sisters, and I waited.
Long after the family had gone inside, Charlie sat on the porch.
"Jane?" he called, and I stepped out from my place behind the gutter.
"Charlie," I gulped. I had to tell him what had happened while he had been away. "Charlie, I-" And then William stepped up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.
At that moment a hungry traveler could have scooped the tension out of the air and made a substantial meal of it.
"Welcome home, bro." William hated silence. "You've changed."
Charlie's eyes flicked to the diamond on my left hand and then closed. "So have you." And that's when I realized that forgetting Charlie hadn't been as easy as I had remembered.