Off to War


Karly Godbold


     He sighed as he fumbled his dirty fingers down the long drapes. They were so delicate and white; the emulation of purity and beauty — much like she who remains sleeping on the bed. She was so cute. Yes, pretty, as all the heartbreakers are, but her persona. Her personality that leaked out through every sentence her pink mouth spilled; it was impossible not to catch her contagious smile. My pretty sleeper.

     She would never let him go -he was sure of it. So many had died in the war already, she would pitch every fit to keep him home, as if her determination to keep him home would cloud the need for men. The need for fighters. The need for him.

     She would try to protect him. A one-woman army blocking his path and thus keeping him safe, and she would succeed. However it would be temporary and fruitless, they would come for him eventually. She will have conquered him, but she was no match for her biggest enemy — the army.

     He thought this the best way as he placed the parchment on his pillow. He couldn’t bear to think about her waking to rough edges of this paper heartbreak, stained from his worked hands, instead of him assuring her that for another day he would be alive. He pushed her pain out of his head.

     The walk to their bedroom door felt like he had stones strapped to his ankles, each step heavier than the last. He felt so torn, a rope tied to each arm, one to his woman and one to his duty. He was taught that his duty was to his woman, yet he had to leave to ensure her safety.

     I’m sorry.

     I’ll keep you safe. I promise.

     All he could do was silently plead that she would understand, his hand on the doorknob, his heart in his throat, he quietly opened the door to his choice.

     Softly, just loud enough for him to hear, she crooned to him as the door was closing. “Goodbye, my love, until you return.”