She sat on his bed alone while the party went on downstairs. He had enlisted to the army. He would leave today. His father had planned a small family get-together/party. Being his wife she couldn’t skip it.
Everyone had come smiling, wishing him the best, telling him that they were proud of him. But they all knew the unsaid true purpose behind it, it was a chance for him to say goodbye in case he- NO! She couldn’t even bear thinking about it. He would come back. He had to.
She performed her ritual of consoling herself by repeating, “He will come back” over and over again, holding her face in her palms. She heard laughter from downstairs as some song started playing. The sound irritated her. She didn’t understand how they could be calm about this. He didn’t have to enlist. They could’ve forced him not to go. They should’ve forced him into staying at his “stupid boring office job” as he called it. She didn’t want him to be a hero. She just wanted him to be safe and close to her.
She recalled how she had prepared herself to cry and beg him if needed to get him to change his mind. But when he talked to her that day about going, there was this spark in his eyes. The spark that had been missing for so long. She had kept her mouth shut and had just held his hand fighting back her fear and now he was indeed going. She did not know how she was keeping herself from asking him not to go.
She sighed and continued her ritual.
A few moments later she felt a hand on her shoulder, she knew it was him, she ceased her chant but refused to look up.
“I do plan on coming back you know?” He whispered to her.
“You better”, she replied in a fierce tone, still not looking at him.
He sat beside her and put his arm around her shoulder and rested his head against her.
They shared those few moment of silence before he whispered,” I’ll write every week, call if i ca-“
“You’re talking as if you have a choice not to” Her tone was even more fierce than before and now she gazed at him with the same fierceness.
“okay “ He knew saying anything further would mean he would probably face enough wrath that would make the battlefield he was about to be shipped to look like playschool.
After a few more moments of staring at him she went back to resting her face in her palms.
He sat there for a few moments. Whatever was happening at the party had completely evaded their attention.
He got up and made his way to his table, he was searching for something; she stole a glance but couldn’t see anything as he had turned and was on his way back.
He came back to her and grabbed her wrist pulling her up.
“What are you doing?” she asked reluctantly
“Hush my sweetheart, just come” he replied smiling.
He took her to the other room, closing the door on the way in. The sounds from the party could no longer be heard.
He sat her down on the bed by the window before seating himself right beside her. The high window made sure the sun’s rays fell on them. She looked at him confused, he just smiled back.
She saw his earphones were in his hand.
“What are they for?” she asked pointing to them.
“Um.. at the risk of causing huge amounts of ear ache or even an infection, I’d like to sing for you. “ he said looking hopefully at her.
She stared back at him, speechless; she knew how much he was afraid to sing where people would hear him. He didn’t like his voice when it came to singing. For him to sing meant-
Her thoughts were cut off with him handing her one earpiece as he plugged the other one into is ear.
“I’ll be singing along of course.” He whispered
She just smiled in reply.
He pressed the play button on his phone and the song started playing. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath; he had picked this song. He meant every word of it. He knew singing wasn’t his forte but he would do anything for her.
He looked at her as Bryan Adams started singing through the earphone. He sang along with him, He sang for her
“Look into my eyes – you will see
What you mean to me.
Search your heart, search your soul
And when you find me there you’ll search no more.
Don’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for.
You can’t tell me it’s not worth dyin’ for.
You know it’s true:
Everything I do, I do it for you.”
They gazed into each other’s eyes as he continued, their fingers were intertwined now, she looked away for small bits, she was getting overwhelmed.
She couldn’t hold it anymore, tears rolled down her cheek as he finished, his eyes were full too.
“Am I that bad?” He joked
She laughed through her tears.
They still held each other’s hands as he got up and asked her to re-join the party telling her he would be leaving soon.
She pulled herself to him and kissed him, whispering,” Just promise me you’ll come back. Please, come back”
AROUND A YEAR LATER
He had kept his word. He called every first Saturday and his letter would arrive every Wednesday.
Except for last week, the postman had brought nothing. She was tensed. She feared the worst. Her mind tried to find explanations and calm her, but to no avail. She held fast to her hope though. She would continue practicing her ritual every now and then.
It was Tuesday night, she assured herself that his letter would come tomorrow as she sat herself down at the dining table and poured herself a glass of wine. She kept at it until she fell asleep right there.
THE NEXT MORNING
She woke with a start hearing the sound of the doorbell.
She reluctantly got up thinking it would just be the milkman or the postman.
The word postman entering her brain jolted her.
“POSTMAN! LETTER! COMING!” she shouted as she ran to the front door.
She fumbled with the keys for a few moments before managing to get it open.
She stood there speechless staring at him. He was there. It wasn’t the postman; it was the love of her life. He stood at the door in uniform with a confused look on his face. He clutched in his hand what seemed to be his letter.
They stood there silent for a few moments before he handed her the letter and spoke,” met the postman on the porch, so he gave it to me, and since it’s only getting delivered today and by the look on your face you didn’t know I was coming today did you?”
He was wearing his stupid smile now.
She grabbed his collar and reeled him in whispering “idiot” as she kissed him smiling.