Soundtrack: Gravity, Sara Bareilles
It was raining the night he left.
She remembered it like a painting in her mind, each brushstroke tugging at her heart. Her long hair was drenched--rivers cascading down them. Even though her chest was heaving with air, she felt she couldn't breathe, watching him disappear in the moonlight. He pulled her without touching her. For a brief moment, he turned to face her and she froze. Her hands and arms ached to hold him, to hold onto the youth and the love that his olive green uniform was taking away from him. He looked at her with a sad smile, before he turned the corner.
Never faltering, never losing his gaze, she sits down on the stoop and holds onto the banister. She doesn't hide it any longer. She isn't stable anymore-a broken china doll. She would sacrifice anything and everything, walk on glass and hot coals if it meant he could stay. Half an hour ago, he had held her in his arms, in her bed, and promised he would come back. She knew it wasn't likely. It seemed the war took only the best away, leaving only empty words and dusty photographs.
But there was love, and above all, hope. He would never make a promise he couldn't keep. She knew he had to come back because he took her heart with him. But as the piano played on on the radio inside, and the cold, dark rain enveloped her, he walked away with an even darker promise:
"But what if I don't come back?"
A year has passed. Letters are few and far between, and when they do come, they smell of sweat and sand. Specks of dirt show up like a visible perfume. She memorizes each one, sacrificing a little bit of strenth each time.
At twenty two months, there are no more letter. As she stare out the window, a familiar black military car pulls up to the house. Two men come out, head to toe in military pride, hats pulled down over their eyes. She felt her heart shatter-whatever was left of what he had taken with him. She pushed through the door before they even made it up the walk. Her hand rose to her mouth, water breaking through her eyes as she shook her head in denial.
Not today. Not after two years. Not after the night he left.
She gripped the banister again like the ghost of Christmas past. She refused to use her senses; the need to feel numb took over. She could barely feel the hand lift her up and try to console her. Her eyes manage to see the man's hat in his hands. Her choking sobs and cries of 'no' filled the air, and the world as she knew it flew off its axis as five little words were spoken softly in her ear:
"I never break a promise, love."