Her chest rose and fell as she fell deeper into sleep on my lap. Her arm wrapped around my leg and pulled me closer to her while hair fell into her face and a mumbled happened behind her breathing. I wasn't good at this, I've ever been good at this. I never liked the aspect of a relationship and I never took myself serious when it came to one. I wanted to push her off and walk the other way from her. I didn't want the feelings that came with caring for someone. I knew she wouldn't ask for me to give everything up but I knew I would anyway. She was worth it. Even just this second with her was worth everything I had.
Her red hair moved and her gray-blue eyes looked up into my eyes. I saw every detail on her face while the wind blew the leafs up around us. The sun hit her face between the leafs on the tree making her face light up and making her move up to get the sun out of her eyes. The sun lit up her hair and made it look like she had a halo. I remember her smile and giggle as I freaked out over a stupid fucking bee. God I wish I could see that beautiful face one more time. I wish I could feel her wrap a hand around my leg and pull on my shirt for a kiss. Damn it I miss those lips like I miss having comfort in my own room and not sharing it with six other men. I miss her.
The last thing I told her was a lie. I told her I did this for her. I told her I fucking did all this for her and it was a lie. I told her I would come back and that was a fucking lie. Every last sentence was a lie that I told her before I left. I did this for myself. I didn't come back for myself. I lied to her for myself and now I see her grey eyes filled with tears. I watched her drop to the ground and curse at the fucking sky. I watched her tell god how much she hated him and curse his and my name. I watched her give up. I watched her try to follow in my footsteps and I watched her fail. I also watched her give birth to our boy and I watched her fall in love all over again.
-Rider, a letter came for you.
Her name was written in black ink. I remember reading each line in my head and every word was in her voice.
I miss you more than the sun misses the moon. I wish you never left, I wish you had stayed with me here. You see, I'm scared not only of losing the man of my dreams but also the father of my child. I want you to know, we will be having a son and I can't explain the joy and pure terror in knowing I will have to give birth without you. I hope you won't be mad that I didn't tell you of the pregnancy until now. I wanted it to be a surprise. I didn't want to distract you but I no longer can hide by happiness. We will be having a son! Thank you for giving me this blessing. I will now have a piece of you even while you fight for us, and for our country. Be safe and come home to me.
Yeah I was a dad. It was the proudest day of my life. I was having my little man and when I got back I would have the woman of my dreams. If I ever got back we were having a June wedding. All this shit was planned out and I ruined it for her. Our big day came and went away and she couldn't forget me. She couldn't walk that grass plain where we were meant to say I do without dropping to her knees. God I watched her waste so many tears in that damn spot. I watched her scream and yell. I watched her contemplate suicide. I touched her shoulder every time and it only made her cry harder.
-They called you up front Rider. Sounded important.
The last words I'd hear in this room were those. I walked to the office and to the last remaining moments on this base. I should have know that shit was about to go down when Sarg rubbed his neck.
-We're sending you out. We need more sharpshooters and I need you front lines. This means you won't see home soil for another six months Rider.
I thought it was perfect. Six months and I'd be home kissing my baby boy on the head and wife on the lips. Boy was I wrong.
I got shipped out that night. I should have died that morning when the plane crashed but we all made it out. I killed five men in that two day span and made friends with a few of the men. We were told not to get to close because tomorrow the person next to you could be gone. I was the odd man out I guess.
That third day we were driving until all I saw was white. I could hear the noises and see the people working on my body. I had flat lined, can you believe that? I'm the one with the most training, the one who should have saw the mine, and I'm the one laying dead on a damn table.
If you believe in god and heaven I'm sorry to let you know it doesn't exist or at least I wasn't good enough to get in. I watched them do everything from sticking my dead corpse with needles to giving it mouth to mouth. They gave up on me a hour later and my body was taken back to the planes. I followed that hunk of skin back home and watched them unload that fucker. Boy do I wish I didn't.
She was there, right there waiting for me to unboard. She grabbed at her belly and I knew the stress this was putting on our son. I tried to comfort her I really did but you can only do so much when you are holding someone from behind and them not even feel you. She cursed and I watched her tears fall. She wasn't waiting for me to walk down those stairs; She was waiting for that shit bag of skin to be driven to the burial site. Watching her die inside like I did outside was brutal. She was a good girl, the best. Even when I was dead she was still right there to welcome me home. She never gave up hope. She never stopped praying for my soul even when I wanted her to to. She prayed for me even when I didn't want to pray for myself.
The burial was nice. I got the whole nine yards and even got one of those fucking crosses over my head. I asked to be burned but this was her closer. This was the only way she could permanently say goodbye. I couldn't be mad at her for this. She had to let go in her own way and this was it; Falling out of her chair and begging the lord god almighty to wake me up. If only she knew our boy was going to look just like me.
She delivered premature and on her own. No one came and she was on her own, at least that's what she thought. I was there the whole time cheering my girl on and wishing I could hold that baby. She named him Jason and for a moment I think she forgave me. I think for a split second I saw all the sadness go away. I saw her smile again and I felt like I could walk into that white light behind her. I still couldn't bring myself to leave her though. I watched her hold onto our son and I ran my hand down her face even if she didn't feel it. She was happy now but I knew it wouldn't last. Those damn thoughts she thought about to often. Those thoughts that kept her up at night kept coming back .She always did think to much and now it was driving her right into the grim reapers arms and out of my sons life. I couldn't let her do that to him, herself, or me.
I watched over her and my boy for four years. For four long years I watched him grow and never got to fucking touch him. For four years I watched her love him more than anyone in the world. I also watched her mourn and cry for four long years. I watched her scream in her sleep and I watched her cry herself back to sleep. I watched my son and wife take care of each other. I watched her show him who I was but I knew he would never know who really I was. I knew I would never tell him who I was and how to learn from my mistakes. I could never tell him to never leave someone who loves him as much as his mama loved me. I would never be able to tell him the bad things about me but his mama told him only the good. He grew up knowing his dad as a hero, he didn't know the druggie. He didn't know the abuser. He never met the drunk. Thank god.
Then he came into their lives. He was a military man himself and one who was discharged. I hated his guts. He had my life that I worked so damn hard for. He had it all he just didn't know it. She melted into his hands and my boy started calling him dad. She didn't need me anymore she had this guy. I was a memory. Those stories of me turned into stories of his days in the military. Her screaming turned into moaning. She never once cried herself to sleep. She was wrapped in his arms and my boy, my flesh and blood was his son now. He taught my boy football. He showed him how to drive. He even coached him into a scholarship. I hated this guy's guts for replacing me.
Then one day I didn't.
He did it all and he did it for me. He sat in a pew in church and told me he did it all for me. My girl was happy, my love wasn't thinking of killing herself anymore. She was thinking of her daughter and my boys sister. She was happy knowing she was having another boy. She wasn't alone she had him. My boy was going to Harvard and he talks to me everyday. He wishes he knew me and is doing everything for me. He is going to be a psychiatrist to help people like me with drug addictions I guess I was wrong about his mom only telling him the good. She kind of had to when he started down the same road.
I watched them for so many years wishing I could be with them. I pushed toxic people out of their lives and gave them a man like myself. He wasn't perfect and I hated his guts for a while but he was what they needed. For years I watched over them and protected them. Now I can let them go just like they now have let me go. That white light is looking pretty nice now.