You have never read a love letter until you have read one sent home to a soldier’s lover
And if you are not that soldier or his lover it is unlikely you will ever
Until their lives have waned and their years have been spent
And the pain of that distance has faded to a wistful reminisce.
You have never read a letter filled with so much palpable longing
And an honesty so profound it bleeds onto your fingers like spilled ink
And capped with a sign off of resignation and the literary equivalent of a sigh
As he hurries through the hastily scrawled pages to not say goodbye.
I love my soldier. I will treasure his hand written letters all the days of my life.
A soldier’s Wife
How could we have known this love would be a source of both pain and ecstasy when you caught my eye under the dingy white tarp of that festival tent and the electricity of a coming storm danced under our skin?
That separation was inevitable and the string of fate would span an ocean, stretched as thin as a spider’s webbing, cutting into the flesh of our hearts where it knotted all those days ago when I looked back at you and knew life would never be the same?
How could I have known I would be so lucky as to possess a love that would cause such longing in the dark expanse of lonely nights?
How could I have known the blessing of the pain of missing you far outweighs the numbness of never having known you?
How could I have known that a deployment would make me love you even more than I ever dreamed a soul could love, deeper than the unknown depths of the ocean floor, longer than the infinity of this universe?
I know there will come a day
When our daughter does not know your absence
When the distance between you and her
Is bridged and Daddy returns
The day when playtime is physical
Not seen through the screen
Of a “smartphone” that still doesn’t understand
The power of human contact.
And the USO story times become fables
As you build forts under Minnie Mouse comforters
And she follows the words you point at as you read.
And you enjoy homemade cookies fresh from the oven
Still steaming when you crack them open.
And you come home to find our love for you is still the same.
Slats of sunlight dapple
the edges of my memories
twirling in the kitchen
laying sideways in our bed
blinding our view of the television
where we curled up each evening
the warming Spring days meant open
strolls across the railroad tracks
during lengthening evening twilight
holding hands, our breaths
as we wait for separation
a year long pacing back and forth
slowly becoming numb
with every creeping day.
I hope that love finds our daughter like it found me. That the stars align to find her soulmate has been there the whole time. Waiting. Waiting for the moment when everything is right, when the complications of her life have resolved to the point of sustained happiness.
I hope that love whispers softly into her dreams like the scent of a garden wafting on lofty breezes trampezing through sun baked air.
I hope that love finds her with kindness, seeking to elevate her, hold her up to find she is worth more than she believed herself to be. That violence is blinded by the glare of a gentle soul seeking in her the self same care.
I hope that love finds her through the heart of a loving partner who holds her hand each time it nears their own. Who says, “I’m sorry,” regardless of who was wrong. Who nurses no ill will even to those who’ve done them harm.
I hope she finds somebody like you.
We have made it 100 days into this deployment. I feel the size of that time as well as it’s insignificance on the scope of the timeline of our life together.
Still I feel it in the loss of your smell in a T-Shirt you left on the floor from the night before. I feel it in the small rearrangements of our kitchen to accommodate my own needs rather than ours. I feel it in the contents of our fridge filled with foods of which you disapprove.
I feel it in the constant stretch of my heart as it pants to hold on to our love, our marriage, the intimacy of our conversations. I feel it in the grains of sand drifting from between my clasped fists as I try to hold on to this time with our daughter yet quickly get to that still too distant day of homecoming.
I fill it in the inches she has grown since you could cradle her in one arm, cup her head in one hand. I feel it in the grasp of her mind as she becomes more and more aware there is a world surrounding her.
I have survived 100 days without your nearness. I told you I would wait for you. 100 days, 1000, an eternity. Perhaps this is my Atlas moment but it is a weight I willingly bear for the promise however far of holding you within my arms again.
Here’s to 100 more.
A Soldier’s Wife
In all the world I do not believe a woman could love you as I do.
She couldn’t see all the amazing things that I see even if she tried to.
But if anyone else were to love you
Here are the things I’d hope she knew.
The way your life shines through your eyes, how I knew you were kind.
The uniqueness of the clever workings of your mind
When we debate back and forth when our views don’t align
And the way you could let me be myself with you and unwind.
The strength of your heart as you carry the weight of the worries of the ones you love
The constant assurance you give us as you perform any task we think of
And the way you ask for nothing in return from us or from above
Taking on cares that would break the wills of some.
The timbre of your laughter when you are genuinely happy
And how it carries on the wind to mingle with the spirits freely
How it captures everyone in its swath making somebodies of perceived nobodies
It’s vibrations resonating under your skin with subtle sensuality.
And the gentle pressure of your hands as they traced the lines of my body
Delving past the barriers I had erected so carefully
Of my emotions, my ability to relate, not just my physicality
You unlocked so much more when you moved that night to kiss me.
I hope she’d know how deeply you deserve to be loved by anyone
That if she cannot commit to a lifetime of holding you in the sun
She does not deserve you, she has no right to leave you undone
Because of all the men in the world you most deserve to be truly loved.
I see eternity within your eyes
When you stare back into mine
Through my soul to the end of time
To where the gods are said to shine
When prayers are offered to their shrines
And you and I don’t need to find
Absolution, we have discovered in kind
Our salvation through each other’s minds
Delicate balances as we attempt to align
distance and affection, marriage defined
Anew for this moment of mankind’s design
Our commitments to country but disinclined
To prioritize wars of rich men’s asinine
Beliefs (see: portfolios) but beyond serpentine
Leaders we gather our courage and combined
We are unstoppable, indivisible, winding vines
On the scale of an infidimensional timeline.
I love you.
I know you love me in the way your eyes brighten as we debate
I know you love me in the way you bury your face in my neck.
I know you love me in the way you never falter to tell me “I love you”
And I know you love me by the curve of your smile
When your eyes meet mine and our hands entwine.
When you encircle my waist and twirl me around
The kitchen in our socks not even to sound.
When you rise out of bed each early morning
And try to leave without waking my snoring
But I called you back whenever I felt your absence
Beside me and demanded my good morning goodbye kiss.
I know you love me by the strength of your actions,
Your daily commitment, your outward affections.
I know you love me so I sleep soundly in knowing,
My husband, soulmate, best friend, our love will keep growing.
Smoldering intensity unchecked by the smothering imminence of you
Red hot skin burning the prints from my fingertips
Distorting my identity and erasing all reality.
You are the only man I will ever love.
Caressing tenderly my cheek, my body, the fragile pieces of my broken psyche
Slowly mending me from inside out with practiced delicacy
Until I feel human again and the icy throne I sat upon melts away and I fall into your arms.
I fell in love from day one.
Laughing gleefully at shared jokes and your endless gaiety
Humor filled goodness leeching into the dark
Dragging me from the ledge of my depression.
You gave me a life again.
Hungry eyes starving for the sight of you never satiated no matter how long
Longing for your touch the way you stroked my hair in the blackness of the night
The way you held my hand during car rides.
You ignite the tender of my heart.