“This is the perfect bow for his present, and it’s done. All the decorations are set and our stockings are hung just like they were on our first Christmas”. She was overwhelmed with the thought of him coming home. Worried for months if he was safe. He always seemed okay on their video chats, but those hadn’t happened in weeks.
She stood up and surveyed the room. Tree, wreath, stockings, lights, all just as it was the first time. Everyone thought they were foolish to marry on Christmas Eve, but they couldn’t wait. He was deployed to Afghanistan five days later. The time they had as husband and wife was too brief, but she wouldn’t change anything. The commitment made by them both was solid.
She had heard he was coming home after being released from the hospital in Germany. She couldn’t meet him there and their communication was sketchy the last few days. When she received the call he would be transported home just before Christmas, she murmured a silent prayer of thanks. Grateful he was alive, and coming home.
The months without him seemed like years had passed. And then not knowing how seriously he had been hurt….yes, I am grateful, so grateful he is all right. It will take some practice, some adjustment, but he is strong, he’ll make it. She finished the last bit of wrapping and checked once again to make sure everything was perfect for his homecoming. It will be difficult, but we’ll survive.
As she was about to leave the room, there was a knock on the door. She opened it to see a Marine officer in the doorway. “Ma’am, I’m Lieutenant James, and I believe you know this guy”. He stepped aside to help her husband enter the room. She took a deep breath as she quickly scanned her husband’s face. His expression was a hesitant one. Upon seeing her warm, loving reaction, tears came to both their eyes. She walked over and hugged him as tight as she could. The Lieutenant grabbed her husband’s crutches and stepped aside. She didn’t care his leg was missing. She didn’t notice the scars on his neck and cheeks. All she knew at that moment was that he was home, and how much she loved him.