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Boss: Finally Home

Boss: Finally Home

This is one kinda from Boss' POV when she first got home from the war... Iraq/Afgan, fyi

(All of the "If You're Reading This"s comes from the song titled "If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw. The letter was inspired by that song and "Letters From Home" by John Michael Montgomery as well as "I'm Already There" by Lonestar and "A Soldier's Memoir" by Joe Bachman).

The plane touches down and Jennifer stands when the other passengers do. Within this plane, at least, she seemed to be equal- the same as every other civilian, just going from one place to another.

On the outside, her mother says when they meet inside, she looks the same as she did when she left. She wants to say what she's thinking--that she is not at all the same person, that on the inside, her mind is much darker, much scarier, than when she left, but she doesn't. Instead, she drops her bag and throws her arms around her parents.

When she asks where the kids are and her parents answer that they're in school, her exterior smiles and her insides cry. She has missed so much of their young lives. Pictures just don't make up for physically being there. Her mother directs her to the car and she ducks inside as a helicopter flies overhead. Her parents don't catch the fear in her eyes or the muttered 'idiot, it's just a news copter'.

"Is William here already?"

She asks this, wondering in her mind why he wouldn't be at the airport if he was here already, but maybe he's changed- physically. She has, though mentally. Her mother's smile turns into a thin line and a muscle in her cheek jumps. Fear skitters through her.

"Mom? What's wrong? Is he still overseas? That's okay, you know. He'll be home soon." You hope, her mind whispers and she audibly shushes it, then shakes her head at herself. She needed to focus. Focus.

Her dad parks the car and they go inside. Her mother directs her to her old room and asks if she'd like coffee or hot cocoa. She's slightly distracted by all the comforts of home. Comforts she hasn't had for a long while. But she hears and she replies.

"Coffee sounds wonderful- you know how I like it." She smiles warmly at her mother and her mother smiles back, but it's strained and, she notices, doesn't reach her mother's eyes.

Her mom turns to leave the room, shuffling out quickly, muttering something about a letter on the bed.

"Mom?" Her voice carries and her mother turns back around, not smiling anymore, a tear in her eye.

"Where is William?" Her mother nods toward the bed and when she looks closer at the pillow, there's one corner of an envelope sticking out from under it. She gently slips it out and looks at the front. It's addressed to her, but already opened which just tells her that her parents read it first which doesn't bother her. Much.

She slowly opens the envelope to find a handwritten letter in her husband's handwriting--chicken scratch with a hint of calligraphy here and there. Unique like him.

My love,

They've asked all of us out here to write a goodbye letter. "Just in case" they say, but I know what it means and so do you. I've not received one from you, so I hope this one finds you well, if it finds you at all. If you're reading this now, I guess I only needed a one-way ticket.

If you're reading this, hug our kids for me, tight and close. Tell them stories and make sure they know I love them. If you're reading this, tell my parents I love them- that includes your parents- and my dad that I understand why he never spoke of the war. If you're reading this, tell the guys to have an ale for me. You know me, no beer for this gut.

If you're reading this, I wish I could have held you one last time. If you're reading this, imagine this tonight- but only tonight, hun, because you do have to grieve and move on. Imagine lying down together like we used to. Imagine me kissing your eyelids, your cheeks, your cute nose, and then finally your soft lips. Imagine my arms wrapping around you as you fall asleep. Have good dreams tonight, even if they only last for tonight. Do that for me?

If you're reading this, I'm there in the sunlight and the gentle breezes. I'm there in the moonlight and crisp night air. I'm there in the scents of car tires and strawberry incense and spearmint gum. If you're reading this, I haven't left you, I am just being held onto for safe keeping, in our God's loving arms. I'll save a seat on the bus bench for you, okay? But don't join me too soon.

If you're reading this, promise me you won't be lonely. I want you to be happy. I want you to live. Promise?

If you're reading this, yes, I was humming the Tim McGraw song while writing this. I remember how you always loved his music. Don't ever give up your odd obsession with country music.

I love you, Jenny.


Jennifer's legs collapse before she reaches the end of the first paragraph. Her mother runs forward to offer comfort, but she pulls away. Sobs tear through her in monstrous waves, worse than any physical wound she could ever suffer. She grips the letter in her hands and realizes it was probably the last thing he ever wrote to her. She glances at the date and realizes he probably never received the letter she'd sent him. She'd sent it a couple weeks after the date and mail was slow out there. It was a mushy love letter, but something in her had been telling her that she needed to let him know that.

Imagining that he never got the letter just makes her cry harder. In the back of her mind, she hears her mother shut the door for her. Her parents have always believed in dignity and composure. She was definitely not composed right at this moment.

She slowly makes her way through the rest of the letter, smiling and laughing through all the tears.

"I promise." She shakily whispers to the empty air in front of her. She doesn't know how she's going to keep the promise, not at this point in time, but she's made the promise and she never breaks her promises to William.

"I love you too... with all my body, heart and soul."

She's even more glad now that they had renewed their vows before deploying. That, at least, helps her dry her eyes before she exits her room to go sit with her parents and wait for her kids to get home.
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012-2021 by Aria Leitner aka Colors_of_the_Wind

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