My emotions are building up inside me, gnawing at my stomach like a parasite eating away at my insides. It has been almost a year since I've seen her, Julia, my angel, the love of my life. I can still feel her sweet kiss on my cheek, her goodbye, before my leaving for service.
"That'll be $12.89, after the military discount." The cashier said to me with a smile. She hadn't seen my Military ID, just my uniform. Julia always loved seeing me in my uniform, saying:
Who doesn't like a guy in uniform?
The cashier laid the flowers on the counter in front of me, carnations, Julia's favorite. She never cared much for the common rose. She said:
Roses are ok, they're just a little plain and they don't last that long. Carnations, on the other hand, are a better symbol of love, they are so pretty and last a lot longer.
I pull some cash from my wallet and as I search my pocket for some change, my fingers run across an open circle, a metal loop, an engagement ring. I had proposed to Julia right after I was called in for service and she told me:
Keep the ring with you to remember what you are fighting for, to remember what will be waiting for you when you come back, a fiancée, a wife.
As I leave the flower shop and place the flowers in passenger seat of my car, I notice a sign hanging over an archway to the park across the street: "5th Annual Movies in the Park!" We had our first date there. While many sat upon blankets on the grass, we found a large rock with a flat surface. I remember helping her climb up it, and we sat there, under the stars, her head on my shoulder. She whispered to me:
We should do this every year, it could be our thing.
I wiped away the single tear on my cheek, from the memory. I've missed her so much, this past year I was away, and now, finally, I'm back.
As I drive to see her, I find my thoughts distracted by my memories of her, one after another, like ocean waves. Finally, the thought, not of her, but of the call I received before coming back. The call that she had been in an accident, the car was totaled, and that she was in the hospital. I felt so much fear, so much pain, all calmed by her voice when she spoke to me over the phone:
I'm ok, the accident wasn't that bad, really. Just come home. I miss you, I love you, and I'll be here waiting for you when you get back. I Love You Baby, and I can't wait to marry you, to finally be your wife.
I get out of my car and grab the flowers. The ring, I pull out of my pocket. The grass is so green and alive. Flowers were scattered across the field and I walked over to her. I feel myself smile the tears begin again, this time like a steady stream. As I reach her, I fall to my knees, my face to the ground. The tears won't stop. I bring my head up again and look forward: "Julia West, 1983 - 2012, We'll Never Forget the Love She Shared With So Many!"
I lay the flowers at her grave. "I miss you, I will always love you," I take the ring set it on a chain and place the chain around my neck, "and I will wear this ring around my neck, to always remember you, My Angel!"