I Promised

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man chooses to write a letter to his wife as he mourns her death.

Submitted: January 30, 2014

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Submitted: January 30, 2014

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My Dearest, My Love,
Do you remember the day we met? The sun was shining, it was summer and your hair was radiant. That was what caught my attention. It was like liquid gold crowned your head. You had woven blossoms through it. Your dress was sweet, just like your smile. Do you remember that day, my love?
I do.
You came out of the orchard and we were caught in a silence where it was just you and me. Your deep, brown eyes searched my dazed blue. I had never before seen anything more beautiful. At first, you looked startled, aware of my stare, but then you smiled. My heart skipped a beat; no…it skipped right out of my chest, never to be mine again. Can you remember that day as clearly as me?
I do.
I went to you and somehow asked your name (how I succeeded in forming words with my awestruck mouth, only God knows, but I did). Elizabeth…the most beautiful name. They called us to go rowing on the lake and I asked if you might join me. The way your face lit up at my request, could you be any more beautiful? And then, oh blessed day, you said yes! Do you remember, dearest?
I do.
So many boats, so many people, how we weren’t toppled into the water, I’ll never know. So many times they would run right into us and laugh. Their heedlessness frightened you and at the hardest of all the hits, you steadied yourself by my hand. I took your hand in mine and looked you squarely in the eyes and my promise was made: “I’ll keep you safe. I won’t leave you.” Do you remember, beloved?
I do.

You might not have known that one day we would run into each other at random places. You might not have known that we would constantly see each other so much you thought I was following you. You might not have known that I would one day call at your home to ask if I could take you out. You might not have known that we would go on great adventures together. You might not have known that one day I would ask you to be my wife. And you might not have known that you would say yes. But somehow…
I did.

From that day on the lake, I always promised you, always reminded you that I would keep you safe, I wouldn’t leave you. And every time I promised, you would look up at me and ask quietly, “Really?” My answer was always sure, my answer was always straight, my answer was always yes. I would love you all my life. I would love you through to death. I would love you into eternity.

Then they called me. I had to go. To keep you safe, I had to go and serve my country. But I promised, “When I return, I will never leave you. You’ll always know, wherever you may go, I’ll never be far away.” You cried. I held you. But you understood and you knew that it was my duty. You promised to wait for me. When I returned, we would be married. And I would never leave you again.
I was gone for so long, my sweet, I’m sorry. There was nothing I could do to bring our reunion closer and closer. Every letter I received was a ray of sunshine in darkness. It smelled just like you and every letter I carried close to my heart. I would read them over and over as you told me of the goings on. But every letter, without fail, you would end with the same words and those words gave me courage: “I am more than proud to call you mine. Your courage astounds me, your bravery staggers me. And I know nothing will ever take you from my heart. You will always be mine. And I will always be yours.”
When I returned, I could not have asked for a better welcoming. Baptized in tears and sanctified in embrace, that reunion could not have been sweeter.
And we were never parted.

Married shortly after, our life stretched before us. No longer were we apart, we were now one. We lived to the fullest, loved without reserve. Our children grew before us like the flowers in your garden. And not a day went by that did not make you lovelier. Your beauty became greater and deeper and richer as time went on. Every evening when you would come into the porch with your flowers as you gazed at the sunset, I could not keep my eyes off of you. Could I have chosen a lovelier bride? I think not. And not a day went by that I did not remind you of my promise:
“I will keep you safe. I will always love you.”
We grew old together. Could I ask for anything more? Those beautiful years went on and on, I wished they would never end. Every place you went, I went too. Every joy you found, I shared. Every pain that pierced your heart pierced mine tenfold. Every silence, every laugh, every tear, every sleep…I was there. And we were never apart.

You began to get sick.  You no longer went to tend your garden. Your hands were too weak to make your favorite tea for us. The sun hurt your eyes and you became tired very fast. None of this could I fix, but when you said you were cold…I would wrap you in a blanket and hold you close to my heart, sometimes carrying you upstairs to bed.
This was the first enemy I couldn’t see, the first evil who tried to hurt you that I could not protect you from. There was an unseen battle being waged between life and death. Every day, I saw its scars in your face and it broke my heart. One day I realized the worst if it all.
I could not save you.
On that day, I sat in the porch, your precious garden before me. Everything I saw reminded me of you, and the more I gazed, the harder it was to hold back those tears. This old soldier could no longer hold it in any longer. I wept like I had never wept before. In silence. You called my name and I came to you in our bed. I tried to hide my grief, but you knew. You always knew, my love. Sometimes I wondered if you knew me better than I knew myself. I took your hand and you touched my face. I closed my eyes as I felt your dear hand against my cheek. And then you spoke. And the words you said I would never forget:
“You’ve kept your promise, dear. You promised you’d never leave me and always save me from any danger, you’d always keep me safe. And you have.”
I couldn’t hold in the pain that was welling up inside of me. Tears slipped out of my faded blue eyes and onto your hands.
“But you can’t save me from this. You can’t follow me to where I go.”
You lifted my face and our gazes met. Your brown eyes were full of all our years together: the joy, the heartache, the love and the war. All of my life lay there. And I helplessly watched as it slipped out of my hands.
“Dearest, I will always love you,” you whispered. I heard your voice break a little. “Even as I walk this last stretch, I will love you. I will love you with my last breath. Darling,” your eyes filled with tears. “I loved you with my first. I loved you the moment we met, I’ve loved you through it all. Not a moment, not ever have I not loved you.”
You pulled me into your embrace and held me close to your heart.
“Come when it’s right. I will be waiting for you to come to me. And then we will spend eternity together. And I will always, always, always love you.”

You soon passed to where I could not follow. For the first time in my life, I could not go where you went. My mind still grapples with the thought that now I cannot be with you.
My darling, I will always love you. I will always hold you closest in my heart and one day, I will join you beyond that great divide. For now, though, I know you’re waiting for me, just like you promised. I promised I would always save you and I would never leave you. That was true. And I did. But there was a battle that I could not save you from and a place I could not follow you to.
I’ll be there soon, my dearest, I’ll be there soon. Be looking for me with the sun.

Your Love, Your Own, Yours Forever,
Walter


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