A short story about a married couple who are separated by war.
It was a late evening; the sky a purple-black color and the moon the brightest it had been in over twenty years. The light splashed its way through a sliding door and across a wooden floor where a couple lay on a black leather couch. The husband held his wife to his chest as he watched some show on the Discovery channel. She, the wife, was sleeping.
The marriage itself was fairly new, they had been together no more than a year, but they did love one another. Friendship does that at times. The husband sat with his feet on top a coffee table. A glass, once filled with water now half empty, stood next to his shaking foot.
He was a young man, about twenty-two and his wife about a year older. They were miles away from any loved ones they may have had; it was the price you paid when you joined the military––among many other sacrifices. But the wife understood and through her love for her husband she supported his wants and desires. The important thing was that he enjoyed his job, and that he did.
The wife’s eyes twitched slightly by the light of the television. She was a pretty woman, an empathetic woman, who understood many things, but she was also a very sad woman. As she lay on her husbands chest it was very apparent that she loved the warmth of his body, but while her eyes flickered from the light one could only wonder where her dreams took her––maybe home to her family. Yes, she along with many military wives dream of being home, and maybe dream that they hadn’t been so foolish to run off and get married at the first sign of there being a distance difficulty––She woke to sudden movement, a sudden noise. The husband, himself, jumped from the couch and grabbed a ringing device.
“Hello?” he said into the very thin phone. The voice on the other end was muffled, the wife couldn’t hear who it was.
“Who is it?” she said, pulling brown hair from her eyes.
The husband now standing in the moonlight, looked pale. Was it the light or his skin? She couldn’t tell. “What’s wrong?” the wife asked.
He ignored her question. “Yes, Sir,” he said and then, “of course, Sir.” He ended the call, looked at his wife, looked away, and placed his now warm face onto the cool glass window of the sliding door.
“Babe, what’s going on?” she asked again.
He looked at her and spoke, “I’m being deployed.”
“What? When?” she jumped from her the couch onto the cold floor. The coolness of the floor numbing her small toes and making it’s way slowly up to her legs and torso.
“What? They can’t do that!” she yelled and then asked, “Can they do that?”
“They can do whatever they want,” he said and mumbled, “Fucking assholes. I need to pack.”
The husband walked away from the moonlight and soon was enveloped into the shadow of the house. His wife followed him. “Well, what did he say? Where are you going?” she asked, as they entered the bed room.
“He said Libya” the husband said while putting his clothes into a bag.
“Libya? I thought we were going to leave Libya alone!”
“I guess they changed their mind?” he laughed slightly.
“Why can’t the U.S. just mind their own damn business!?” she yelled clutching her swollen hands. “Now my husband is going to go over there fighting for a country that can honestly take care of themselves! And then instead of their people dying my husband will die! I am not okay with that.”
“Well, I certainly hope you wouldn’t be okay with me dying,” he smiled to a shirt he was throwing into a bag.
“This isn’t funny!” she hit his arm.
“Look,” he paused what he was doing and stared into her eyes, “I am not going to die. Got that?” he held her arm.
“I’m holding you to that,” the wife sat on the bed and exhaled. “Well, when are you leaving for the airport?”
He zipped his bag and said, “Right now.”
She laughed out loud, “You can’t be serious?” By the look on his face she could tell he was indeed serious. “You know, I honestly don’t see how you enjoy working for these people.”
He smiled, picking up his bag, and leaving the room, “I like the work, not the people. I fix planes, remember that.”
“Right! So why are they sending you over there?” she argued.
“Honestly, babe, I don’t know,” he told her. “My supervisor didn’t tell me anything except to pack for Libya and to be ready to leave within the hour. I mean, I was under the impression that I couldn’t be deployed for another few months.”
“Yeah, so was I,” she said. “He didn’t happen to mention when you’d get back?”
“Nope,” he smiled.
“I feel like you need to not joke around and play cute with me right now,” she said to him.
“Well, I feel like you need to just take it,” he smirked.
A beep from a taxi was heard outside. Both froze for a moment and allowed reality to sink its teeth into each of them. He kissed his wife and said, “I’ll call you when I know something. I love you,” and opened the door and made his way into the cab.
The wife watched him drive away. She didn’t leave the window for almost hour, just to allow all of it weigh down onto her shoulders. And then after realizing that her breathe and tears were making a smudge on the window, she turned away from it. She looked around the empty home, and noticed that the moonlight that was once lighting the entire house was now slowly moving away from the sliding door, making it become darker and darker by the minute.