Eddie walked to the home of the girl he had always loved, Lilith; the one who had always stood by him. The one who was arranged to be married to a different man, the man who was separating them, the one who was believed to have somehow been connected to the war that changed his father and he was “destined to die in.” He stood there as she read the letter in silence. Her eyes read it again and again. Then, without notice, he kissed her the way she had been dying to be kissed; and she kissed back. Dropping the letter from the military, she kept repeating the word ‘no’ over and over again, gripping him tightly. They sobbed together the way they were meant to be. Tears finally escaped and so did they.
“How are you today Pop?” Eddie asked his father about the television with no answer. Eddie looked at the T.V. and saw flashing images of the war that had scarred his father. “At least I don’t think you’re getting any worse…” Abe didn’t blink but rather swallowed when there was a video from the scene where three men had been killed by a bomb. The images were gruesome but his dad didn’t flinch. “Love you Dad, and thank you.” He picked up the card on the floor he had made for Abe when he was gone fighting for his family during the war. Abe’s eyes watched him and a tear slid down his cheek. Eddie didn’t notice.\
He then proceeded to tend to his sick mother in the next room. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer. It was in her lungs and Eddie believed it was due to all the dust and debris in the air. It seemed like the war was killing everyone in its own twisted way. Hundreds dying in the news every day, diseased from pollution, starvation, casualties, war was taking its toll.
“Eddie, is that you sweetie?” She asked Lying frail in her bed, growing weaker by the day. She had an oxygen tank by her side.
“Yeah Mom it’s me,” he smiled trying to be strong. “I have your medicine and some tea.” He had some respect for his mother but not as much as he did for his father. His father was his hero; a full pledged war man, tough and strong. He only left his family because he was drafted and only left the military because he was injured. Abe returned with PTSD but he was just as much a man in Eddie’s eyes. His father was gone during his upbringing but came back when he was about 17 never the same man he was when he left. But he was a hero… right?
After tending to his parents, Eddie got the mail, not even fully looking through it and left to go to Lilith’s house. It seemed like he spent most of his time with her. Her fiancé was never around since he was a war general and her family was close with Eddie’s. He was falling in love with her, but she would never feel the same, she couldn’t. Eddie snapped out of his daze and knocked on the door. Anthony, Lilith’s finance, answered.
“Oh, uh hi…” Eddie said surprised he was home and even more surprised he would get up to answer the door. Something was wrong.
“Hello,” he replied. “What are you doing here?”
“Is uh, Lilith here, we had plans.”
“She is here and you may have had plans but you don’t anymore. Lilith won’t be available.”
“I saw you two… kiss, but rest assured it meant nothing to her. She even told me that you’re an insignificant portion of her life.” He smiled.
“Alright,” Eddie began. “Just know this, I won’t let go without a fight. She’s worth too much.”
“If you say so, but I don’t see it.”
“Well then your vision is clouded, in more ways than one.”
“So is yours; your father,”
“Don’t you dare speak of my father; you’re not worthy to even say neither his name nor any name of such high honor. He gave his livelihood for a war you could’ve ended years ago.” Eddie snapped back.
“He never served; it’s why you’re being called.” Anthony said with a smirk.
“Lies!” Eddie yelled and stormed off. He went home then went through the mail that he failed to look through before he left. There was a letter from the military stating that his attendance was mandatory due to the fact that no one in his immediate family had served in the war. His heart broke and he dashed into his father’s room tossing the letter onto Abe’s lap.
“Pop, what’s this?” Eddie asked furious but prepared to go back to Anthony and deny it. His father read the letter and gave no response. “It’s a mistake I knew it! Just say the word and I’ll go tell that jerk a word or two.” His father turned off the T.V. “Tell me Damn it!
“It is not a mistake Edward.” He said quietly.
“Where were you then?” Abe was silent once again. “POP!”
“I was with a woman,”
“Does Mom know?” Eddie asked his father heart almost shattered and noticed the card on the floor again. Abe nodded. Ed walked out the room leaving the card on the floor and gained a new respect for his mother.
Suddenly his future became clear; he was destined for the military. Eddie packed his bags and grabbed the picture of Lilith and him he’d kept on his bedside. With his love gone and his beliefs shattered he might as well just go.
Eddie went to Lilith’s place to tell her goodbye for good. He went under her window and gently threw rocks at it until the lights went on and she appeared.
“Eddie!” He smiled at her. Jus the sight of her gave him the feeling that things would be alright. ”What are you going here so late? Why haven’t you come to see me?”
“Come down here we need to talk?”
“Can it wait until tomorrow? I look terrible.” He shook his head no and she sighed. “I really can’t, he’s here. I’ll just sneak out tomorrow and meet you at the tunnel…”
“I’ll be gone…” She got a serious look on her face. Lilith quickly came down to the door and snuck out and ran into Eddie’s arms. He handed her the letter. He stood there as she read the letter in silence. Her eyes read it again and again. Then, without notice, he kissed her the way she had been dying to be kissed; and she kissed back. Dropping the letter from the military, she kept repeating the word ‘no’ over and over again, gripping him tightly. They sobbed together the way they were meant to be. Tears finally escaped and so did they.
They ran hand and hand to the park and sat in the tunnel they had met in when they were young, hardly knowing what wonders the world held, or the horrors. Now here they were hiding from it all in a place they never imagined. One arranged to be married to a man that was horrible. The other going to fight in a war that wasn’t needed, much less wanted. Both in this place, brought together by love.
“So when did he… when did you... um…” he tried to speak, but the pain overwhelmed him.
“He decided if we are supposed to get married, we should spend time together. Thing is, he’s always out somewhere. And I figured we can’t really see each other much.”
“Yeah,” Eddie replied. Lilith looked at the ground as if she might cry again. “Just so you know your worth a lot.” She looked at him, and then kissed his cheek. “So why do you stay with him? Not that it’s my place or anything.” There was more hurt in his eyes than she had seen since she looked in the mirror.
“I have to it might end the war… and I have a lot of debt I have to pay him and, well, we made an agreement.”
“I’ll pay it!” Lilith’s heart was mended then broke yet again.
“You can’t, there’s no way, and I know you love me but…”
“Do you love me?” Eddie asked.
“Yeah but sometimes love isn’t enough Eddie.” She closed her eyes and started to cry.
“Shhhh,” Eddie cradled her in his arms.
“I don’t want to stay with him…” Lilith sniffled.
“Look at me Lilith,” Eddie said.
“I can’t!” Lilith said feeling guilty
“Please just look at me,” She looked at him. “Just promise you’ll never forget me.”
“Never,” she whispered. “Just don’t go yet.” She gripped his arm. “Stay with me for one more night?”
“Won’t you get in trouble?”
“Eddie,” Lilith began. “I don’t mind.” They spent the night together in the tunnel and were awoken by the rays of sunlight peeking through the holes from the tunnels decay. In the morning they kissed and parted.
Eddie went to war and he received a medal of honor for saving several lives. The war ended two years later with the death of Anthony. Every night after the end of the war Lilith went to the tunnel and waited all night hoping Eddie would show up. One night after two years of waiting for him, she went to his old home to find a new family living there. A tear ran down her cheek. Lilith walked back to her house to pack ready to leave. On her way to the bus she passed the tunnel and saw Eddie there. She ran to him, and they kissed under the stars.