The last four years have been nothing less than perfect.
"I love you," he murmured.
"I love you too," I whispered back with my head lying on his chest while clasping onto our daughters hand.
"Me three!" she said with a chipper voice.
"But... You do know that I have to leave soon..." I suddenly removed my head off of his chest and realized that reality had finally hit me hard.
Four years today we met; it was almost as if it was love at first site.
"I like your army jacket." A voice said from behind me, as I turned to see a young man facing me.
"Thank-you. It was my father’s; I like to wear it because I feel as if he's still with me." I said while wiping a faded tear away from my eye.
He took me close to him, enough to where I could hear his heartbeat. He brushed the hair out of my face and looked me on my eyes,
"I can be here for you."
Four years today.
"Just one more week till I leave..."
"Stop counting!" I shouted.
Tears started running down my face. I took several deep breathes in and out, while our daughter stroked my hand gently.
"I'm... I'm sorry. I didn't mean too."
"Baby its fine. I know you hate it when I talk about it but it's just the way things are you know."
I shook my head. "I know... It's just everything is happening so quickly, I just can't seem to put it all together. I wish we had more time.” I paused for a second.
"But it is what you've always wanted and dreamed of, so you should follow your heart..."
He smiled and kissed my forehead. "Speaking of dreams, look who fell asleep."
I looked down at my lap and to my surprise our daughter had fallen into a deep slumber.
"I'll go put her to sleep, I'll be right back.”
I cradled her right into her crib, tenderly pulling the covers over her, and gently sliding all of her favorite stuffed animals into her small arms. Watching her chest pop up every few seconds for an inhale; her father’s small full lips, tiny nose, light facial structure, almost beetle like eyes lightly peeping out, and her soft brown curls tucked behind her small head. For only being one years old, our baby was genuinely a spitting image of her father.
Suddenly a loud blaring sound came from our room, which seemed to be the telephone.
"Who is calling at this hour, it's almost midnight...” I mumbled.
I rushed over to our bedroom to reach the nearest phone but before I even touched the door, my husband had picked up the phone.
"Hello? Yes, this is Sean.. Oh.. Evening captain! Wait... You would like me to fly in tomorrow?"
My heart skipped a beat. I dropped onto my knees from what I just heard. My hands suddenly came to my head, gripping, almost ripping my hair.
"Now?" Why all of a sudden? Why can't they just wait till next week?"
Millions of questions started racing through my mind. Tears started running down my face at this point.
I heard footsteps come from the other side of the door as my husband opened the door he was in shock that I was on the ground, and he dropped on his knees as well.
"Babe, look at me."
He took me by the waist, picked me up and carried me to our bed.
"You heard what had happened on the phone, didn't you?" I shook my head. "Look,” he said taking a long breathe. “I didn't think they would call this early, I know it's soon but... I have to go."
More tears flowed even quicker down my face. The next few minutes were in silence. Only the sound of my small cries filled up our room. He rocked me back and forth in comfort.
"I just don't want to lose you... if anything happens I'd be devastated, and wouldn't know what to do.”
"Hey, don't stress about it baby, I'll be fine, don't you worry."
"But I do worry." I took a long pause, and thought about us and our family.
"I love you," I said.
"You have my full support; I'll be there for you.”
He smiled. “You are always there for me," he replied holding me tighter and squeezing me.
"I love you too." I managed to peep out a small giggle and gave him a bright smile.
He showered me with kisses and I soon fell asleep in his arms because his comfort was all I needed.
The next morning I was awoken by the rustle and bustle of my husband quickly rummaging through his belongings and packing.
He came over to the bed and gave me a kiss on my forehead,
"Good morning beautiful."
For a second I was confused on what was going on, but it all came back to me and I realized again that my husband was leaving today.
"Everything all packed and ready?"
"Yep, just have to pack some more underwear and I should be ready!"
"Can't forget those now!" I said while giggling.
" Let me go see if Paulette is up."
As I opened the door I found our daughter standing in her crib jumping up and down.
"Look at you, you are up so early!"
“I wanna see daddy!" she said happily.
At this point I did not want to tell her that her father would be leaving for war so early, but the truth had to be told soon enough. As she reached to come into my arms, I took her by her hands and clutched them.
"Paulette, daddy is leaving today."
Her cheerful smile had soon faded away from her face, she became still, and quiet.
"Baby... are you alright?"
I wanted to cry again. She shook her head in bewilderment and jumped into my arms. She held me tight and looked at me, "Will he come back home soon?"
I truly did not know what to say, and gave her the best answer to keep her happy.
"I hope so."
Getting ready was the hardest part, knowing that every second could be our last. Faking a smile every time we made eye contact, the short ride to the airport even more degrading and depressing each mile that went by. It was quiet, even though I didn't want it to be. I wanted to shower all my thoughts onto him, but I did not want to overwhelm him with my insecurities. Walking into the airport was even more sorrowful. Each step I took was shorter than the next, my husband soon enough caught up with the pattern and held my hand tight. Our daughter peering from his other hand smiling at me, I knew I had to make these last moments worthwhile. As we reached his gate I felt tears in my eyes, he stopped at the gate and took both of our hands.
“I am going to really miss both of you very much.”
“I’m going to miss you too, Daddy. Please be safe.”
“I will baby.” He whispered while kissing her forehead. He came over to me, and gently touched my face.
“I want you to be happy, that is all I have ever wanted out of you.” He said.
A short clip of all of over memories played through my head, and he was right. All he ever did was make me happy. The simplest gesture he had done was always worthwhile. Every moment ever single second was never a waste.
“These next few months might feel like forever but just remember that I won’t ever leave you, I’ll always be with you.” And pointed at my heart.
I kissed his finger tips and put them on my face.”
“I will be happy.”
“Flight A13 will departing soon, please make your way.”
But before he could finish I jumped up to kiss him, a kiss I will never forget.
“I love you, be safe, and be happy.”
“Thank-you baby, I love you too.”
He reached over at us one last time, and hugged each other’s hearts out.
As I watched him go, I knew this wouldn’t be our last time. Because this was not our final goodbye, for he had a place in my heart that will forever make me happy, and I will never let that feeling go.