"I don't want you to go." Her heart was breaking. "You might not come back."
"I'll be back. You'll see. The time will fly by." He smiled.
"So you say. It will for you. You'll be busy. It's different when you're the one waiting."
"You won't just be waiting, and you won't be alone." He placed his hand on her belly. "Our son will be with you."
Her hand covered his. "It won't be the same. You won't be there when he's born. You won't see his first smile or hear his first word."
"Or be sprayed with his first peas!" He laughed and she joined him for a moment. Then he sobered. "You'll have to remember everything for me."
"I will send you pictures. I can send video online now. My brother showed me. You won't miss everything." She ran a hand over his shaved head. "I hope his hair is curly like yours."
"I hope his eyes are green like yours." His eyes filled with tears. "Please don't forget me."
"Never! As long as I have breath I will remember you!" They clung to each other, both of them sobbing.
"You will write to me?" He ran his finger across her brow and tucked a stray hair behind her ear.
"Every day, even if it's to tell you how boring my day was."
"Those are the best kind." He smiled again. There wasn't much time left.
"I will pray for you always. I will teach our son to pray for you."
Tears threatened to spill from his eyes again. "Thank you. You will be a good mother. God couldn't have blessed me more with the family He has given me."
She smiled. "Do you remember when we met?"
"Always. I cherish the memory every day."
She nodded and looked down. Her heart couldn't speak anymore.
"Thank you for the party last night. It was just what I needed."
Again, she nodded.
He lifted her face so he could see her beautiful eyes again.
Another voice broke through. "Captain!" He looked up. "Sir, it's time." He nodded.
She embraced him, afraid to let go. He held her a moment, then gently pulled her arms from his neck. "It's time. I need to go."
"I know." She smiled, tears on her cheeks. "It's something you have to do."
"Yes." Suddenly, he took her in his arms again and kissed her with a passion that left them both dazed.
"I love you."
"I love you too." She pulled something from her purse and tucked it into his hand. "Don't say 'good-bye.'"
"I won't." He promised. He turned toward the carrier.
"I love you!" she said again. He smiled and nodded. He couldn't speak.
"Have a good trip, honey!" Her voice cracked. "We'll be here when you come back."
He turned and saluted her. She waved and then placed her hand over her heart. He ran to the carrier, afraid he would start crying again.
When he had stowed his gear and sat down the sergeant next to him pointed to his hand. "What's that, Cap?"
He had forgotten there was something in his hand. He looked at it. It was a note with his name written on it in her handwriting. He opened it.
I love you. I will always love you. I am praying for you every day. I know you are in God's hands, but if He wills that you do not come home to us, then I will tell our son about the wonderful man his father was. I will teach him about God and why He sent His Son. I will teach him to be a man like you.
But I have faith that you will come back and that you will be here to teach him these things as well. Because of that, I won't say 'good-bye.' I will only say…
"Bon voyage," she said as she watched the carrier slip from her sight. Her hands rested on their son inside her.
"Bon voyage," he said as he gazed out the window, hoping to catch a last glimpse of her. He folded the note carefully, then placed it as close to his heart as he could.
"Bon voyage," he repeated as a smile emerged.
"Bon voyage." And he closed his eyes as he prayed for his family and then slipped into sleep as the carrier slipped through the clouds.
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