It tore at her heart to watch him go. Eight days. Just eight days together and he was leaving again.
He was warm and solid and smelled like fresh air, tasted like mint. She memorized his strong brow, his square chin, his regal nose. Memorized his rough cheek, his sad smile, the adventure in his eyes.
His low voice vibrated deep in her soul. “I love you. Never forget I love you.”
Tears washed her cheeks as she unclenched her fists from his sleeves, unlocked her lips from his mouth, and said goodbye.
She stood rigid and strong while he walked to the plane, sunlight glinting off the gold bars on his shoulders. She stood rigid and strong as the plane taxied away. She stood rigid and strong in the months that passed, marking each day as it slowly ticked by.
It was when the men came to her door that her spine gave out and her strength failed her. Each knock against wood a stake in her heart. Every murmur of condolence a scar on her soul.
Now she recalled his strong brow, his square chin, his regal nose. Remembered his rough cheek, his sad smile, the adventure in his eyes. She fell before the stone in the ground where he would rest forever. “I love you. Never forget I love you.”
And tears washed her cheeks as she said goodbye.