As I struggle to break free from the enemy soldier lines, I shout signal and run as fast as I can. After leaving fear behind the only thing I feel is wrath. I am mad I am in this situation, angry I am stuck in the danger line, forced to fight locked and loaded. I am that furious that I am so helpless, even with the firearms I have in my hands. I think back to the life I used to have back home.
I was sitting in the airplane with the picture of my daughter and my wife from the last Christmas I missed while I was over seas when a tear slid down my cheek. I couldn’t believe that after three years overseas at war I was finally going to see my family. My baby girl Kendra was three when I left. She must have grown so much and I thought needed her daddy. Then I took out the picture of Beatrice and I from our wedding. She had beautiful hazel eyes and the voice of an angel. I wanted to be home, after all home is where the heart is and where the one’s I care about stay.
When I arrived in front of the house, I took a deep breath and then knocked on the door. I noticed another car in the driveway. Beatrice wasn’t expecting me. I imagined her face when she opened the door. When she didn’t answer, I started to get nervous and thought the worst. I went to open the door and it opened without force. The faucet in the kitchen was running.
“Who’s there?” She shouted suddenly startled. I stepped out of the shadows and extended my arms, unable to speak. She dropped the Tupperware into the sink and jumped into my arms. Beatrice began to cry, smile, and laugh all at once.
“I missed you Baby.” I said. I held her closed and kissed her passionately. She cried on his shoulder and checked to make sure he was okay.
“I’m okay, no permanent injuries.”
“Don’t ever leave me again!”
“I won’t leave you, I promise. We can be a happy family, together.” After that, we went and surprised Kendra at school. She cried as well. Our small little family, the Remlap family was happy. Beatrice was able to start to go back to culinary school now that I was home. I was done with the marines and I had more time to spend with my daughter and my amazing wife... Or so I thought... The year seemed to fly by when I got a call.
“Is this Mr. Chris Relent?” The voice on the other side of the cell phone said when I answered it.
“Yes, this is him. May I ask who is calling?” I looked out the window as he informed me I was to be sent back overseas within the next month. I stared out the front window as Beatrice pulled up with Kendra in the back seat. They were smiling and laughing together. I closed my eyes and pressed the off button once he was done talking wanting to cry. I was scared of what would happen to me but more importantly, I was scared of what would happen to them. When they got in the house, Beatrice automatically knew something was wrong.
“What’s wrong sweetie?” She asked concerned. I looked at her seriously and took her to sit down on the sofa.
“I have to go back in a few weeks.” I could see the tears well up in her hazel eyes.
“No! You promised you would stay!” Beatrice said crying. Kendra ran out not noticing her mother on the sofa.
“Daddy, guess what! My school is having a Daddy-Daughter dance in a month or two and now that your home you can finally take me!” She had on a grin from ear to ear and it took her a minute to realize things weren’t right. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want to go to the dance?” She asked me starting to notice the vibe. I looked at Beatrice hoping she would intervene but instead she just sat there waiting to see what I would say.
“Of course I want to go Kendra,” I began. “But Daddy has to go away again.”
“I though you were done.” She said softly, almost whispering. I couldn’t think of anything else to say. She noticed this and stormed off. I turned Beatrice.
“How long what?” I asked her
“How long until you’re done?” Beatrice asked. She looked at me with tear filled eyes. I wanted to tell her I would be done soon. I wanted to end her pain, but I couldn’t.
“I don’t know.” I replied unable to look into her hazel eyes. I could feel her heart sinking inside her chest and hear her heels tap against the hardwood floor as she ran in the other direction. I never saw her again.
As I am stuck in this building bomb about to detonate, I think about my life and what I have fought for. I fought for my baby girl Kendra who will grow up without a Daddy, despite my efforts. I think of my wife Beatrice and how her hazel eyes will have to cry once more and her angel voice will sob. When I signed up for the marines I never meant to leave this world alone. I never meant to hurt the ones who care.