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Waiting On Love
“I’ll always write to you David! I love you!” I screamed after my fiancé as he rode away from me on a train to loneliness.
“I love you too Susan! I’ll never forget you!!” David hollered back to me.
Tears streamed down my face as I waved to the man whom I loved, leave my life. I stayed at the train station until I couldn’t see the remnants of the train anymore. My life as I know it had been crushed by the war in Vietnam. Never in my days had I thought that Kansas would get involved in this proxy war. As I was walking home to the house David and I had purchased together I couldn’t help but stop to the place where he and I got engaged. I began to cry again. My heart was aching. I could feel the warm salty tears stream out of my sage eyes. My beautiful auburn hair was tangled from the droplets rolling down my cheeks. David was the only thing in my life that mattered and now he was putting his life on the line.
It was 1965. That was the year that changed my life forever, when the United States joined the Vietnam War. I was nineteen years old and engaged to David Dawson, my high school sweetheart. I was going to college to become a doctor while my dear Dave fought for us. Before he left I made a promise to keep up with all my school work and move into our house.
The days went by so slowly and there wasn’t a minute that went by that I wasn’t thinking about David. I tried to do college homework but I couldn’t focus. So I decided to write him a letter.
I miss you already darling. I cannot wait until you are back here in my arms again. I will keep you in my prayers. And I hope you will do the same for me. I just wanted to let you know that I love you and I’ll always be with you.
My week went slowly working as a nurse and seeing all of the already returned wounded soldiers everyday. I kept praying that David wasn’t among them. By time Sunday came around I was very ready for a day off of school and work. I went to church then made myself a little meal. After I took care of my plate I changed into grubby clothes and began to paint the living room. I was just finishing up when my phone rang.
My heart stopped as I answered the phone. “Hello?”
“Hey girl! How’s it going?” My friend Michelle said on the other line.
“Well, its going… where are you at?” I asked a little annoyed.
“I’m stopped at a gas station on my way to your house of course!” Michelle giggled.
“Oh, Well. I guess I’ll see you in a while.” I hung up the phone astonished that my best friend was driving all the way from Oklahoma to come see me.
About four hours later Michelle arrived at the house with a duffel bag. I looked at her with wondering eyes and she simply said she was moving in until Dave came back. Michelle found herself an empty room and unpacked. I watched her as she unpacked her belongings. Michelle had changed since high school. She was a lot more â€˜free flowing’. I left her to unpack and went into my new office and began to write David.
My best friend from high school has moved in. Just until you come home. Her name is Michelle and she has agreed to help out with the house. So hopefully you will come home to a finished home and a fiancé who is a doctor. I love you and miss you, David.
Michelle worked on the house while I was at school and work. She really had a creative touch to her designing. I came home late one night to music blaring from the kitchen. As I neared the kitchen I could hear that it was Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett. There Michelle was singing along as she was making dinner. I walked in and sat down at the kitchen table. She turned and looked at me.
“How was work?” Michelle asked.
“It went well but I noticed one of David’s good friends in the hospital. He uh, didn’t make it.” I said pretty flatly.
“I’m sorry, Susan.” Michelle replied.
We ate dinner that night together without any problems. As we were washing dishes I heard a knocking on the door. I answered it to a military man with a packet of papers.
“I prefer Dawson but yes?” I asked the man.
“I have some news for you about David Dawson. He has been reported missing in action.” He said sullenly.
I dropped to my knees and began to bawl. Michelle came running and already knew I was crying about David. She tried to comfort me but it was no use. The military man quietly said he was sorry then left. Michelle kept making sure that he was just missing and not dead while she patted my back with sympathy. It felt as if my heart had been torn out and stomped on then replaced. I was so terrified that I collapsed and began to shake uncontrollably. My life’s purpose had been shattered.
Michelle carefully brought me into the living room and sat me on the couch. I remember looking up at her and saying, “I have no reason to go on…”
“Don’t you dare start with the â€˜woe as me’ story. I won’t take it! He’s probably fine! Susan, you will go on.” Michelle grabbed my shoulders and shook me hard.
As soon as Michelle took me by the shoulders I knew that life would go on. As would I. I continued on with my life as anyone would and left David behind me. Even though I was asked out many of times by my male classmates I never obliged, my heart wasn’t ready for anyone new.
It was 1975, ten years after my life changed forever. I have changed as a person. For one, I am a doctor now. Not only that, I am a lot more self assured. Michelle went back to Oklahoma and I had been holding down the house for a while. I was stuck on a melancholy mood for a while. However, I’m happier now that I haven’t had to constantly worry â€˜what if’. I’ll admit that I have wondered if he was alive still, but so many people have told me to just forget it. I caught wind that the war had ended but I honestly didn’t care anymore. My heart was broken and it would take a miracle for me to love anyone like I loved David.
One day I got home from work and my front door was unlocked. I walked in wondering if I had really forgotten to lock the door when I heard a noise upstairs. Then a noise on the stairs. Someone was walking down them. I ran to the parlor with a baseball bat in my hands. I looked up and saw a familiar brunette with ice blue eyes. The bat hit the floor and I ran up half the stairs to meet the long lost ghost. There David was standing on the stairs looking at me. I wrapped my arms around him and kissed his face. Dave did the same to me.
“I thought I would never see you again!” He whispered briskly to me.
“I knew deep in my heart that you were alive but everyone told me I was crazy!” I kissed him.
“Susan, I’m sorry I left you so long! I never meant to!” Dave returned the favor.
I pulled back and looked at him. “Dave…you’re home…” I told him with tears of happiness in my eyes.
“When I was captured I swore that I would see you again… Ten long years and I’m finally here!” He laughed more to himself.
“I missed you so much.” I responded quietly.
We caught up on life and other things… David and I got married a year later and ended up having three children. One day, my only daughter asked me if I had ever waited for love.
I remembered mine and David’s story and simply said, “I have waited on love”.
“What?” She asked curiously.
I looked into my daughter’s eyes, “When my soldier came back to me, I no longer was waiting on love.” I told her with a smile.
“Oh! You’re talking about dad!” My daughter giggled and gave me a hug.
“Yeah Sweetie, I am.” I hugged her back while I smiled at Dave across the room mouthing â€˜I love you’.