[ off to war ]

by pfc kory

Rebecca stood away from the rest of the families. They were all there for the same purpose, to bid farewell to their loved one - but her emotions were separate from theirs, so she stood alone. Each of them cried and waved as their young man vanished into the belly of big bird that would carry him off to war. Their hearts were filled with fear, and hope that their love would bring him home. Their young man waved back, grasping hold of that love and carrying it with him - also hoping, desperately believing, their love would bring him back. But her heart was filled with guilt. Her young man was boarding that plane believing her love had abandoned him. He believed he was going to war alone. Tears streamed down her face as she watched the young men boarding the plane.

Some of them would return to the welcoming arms of their families and friends. But their souls would be forever changed. Her baby's soul would be forever changed. Others would returned home in flag-draped coffins, their souls left on some bloody hillside. And a few would never return - they'd be lost, both in body and soul, in some damned jungle far away. But her baby wouldn't be one of those. He would return. He WOULD. She hadn't abandoned him. Every second of every minute, she would be with him. Her love WOULD bring him home.

Her grief and guilt threatened to overwhelm her, but she couldn't let it. She'd let it once before, and he still paid for it. She could never fix the damage that had been done when she'd left him. It was a scar that would never heal. She blamed that wound for his choosing the path he was on now. She blamed herself. But that wasn't something she could alter. There was so very little she could do now, so little comfort that she could give him. But she could make sure he wasn't alone. He would never be alone. Rebecca moved towards the boarding steps. She would stay with him, protect him, every second of every minute of every day he was there. She ran up the boarding steps, wrapping her arms around him as he paused in the doorway.

2nd Lt. Myron Goldman hesitated as he neared the top of the boarding steps. He looked around at all the families and friends of his fellow passengers waving their tearful good-byes. Stepping into the doorway, he paused for a moment. As he stood there, scared and alone, he felt himself struck by an sudden chill. He shivered as it ran down his spine.

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