Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (02/28/19)
TITLE: Her Marine
By Jenny Miller
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She sat on the floor of her one-bedroom apartment, staring at the envelope. These would be the last words she would ever read from the love of her life; her Marine. Tears filled her eyes and a lump formed in her throat as she held it in her hands. She couldn’t wait any longer. She had to know what it said. After a deep breath, she carefully ripped the seal to reveal a small, lined piece of paper with only two words written halfway down the page.
She could no longer contain the overwhelming urge to cry out. Tears flowed down her cheeks and she wept with an incomprehensible heartbreak from which she was sure she'd never recover. He was gone. She could never tell him what her heart had known from the beginning; he was her forever love. She would have married him long ago, had he asked, but she knew serving his country would have to come first. “My God, my country, my girl,” he’d say, holding up his fingers in sequence. “You’ll like me better when I come back, anyway. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?” He would smile his gorgeous smile and she would just melt and agree.
Two days after receiving the letter, she drove with his family to meet the plane that was bringing him home. They rode in silence, fully aware they were not emotionally ready to receive him in that condition. The last time they saw him he was smiling and waving goodbye, with a green sea bag slung over his shoulder, eager to serve with his fellow Marines. He was so proud, and they were so proud of him.
She walked arm-in-arm with his parents across the runway. They watched as several Honor Guard Marines stood in line outside the plane, ready to salute as he came home one last time. The passengers on the plane didn’t come out, save for the military escort. He was met by an Officer and they saluted each other. The cargo crew, along with the loadmaster, pulled the precious cargo from the hold first. It was covered with the flag he died to protect.
His mother and father laid their hands on his casket and told him how much they loved him and how proud they were of him. They knew he was already in the hands of the Father, but they said it anyway. They had to say goodbye. Then it was her turn. She hugged his parents and tearfully went to his side, leaned down and kissed the flag, and whispered the one word she knew she’d never get to live out.
Years later, she still yearns to hear his voice. She still wishes she could see his face. In her dreams she’s walking down the aisle to pledge her undying love to her Marine. Time will slowly lessen her pain and God will comfort her broken heart, but absence will never be her friend. Absence broke her heart.
Note: Fiction based on true events. Dedicated to the many who have lost loved ones in service to their country.
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