The day was hot. He was in a bad mood. The promise of food was just delayed as orders came through. He was told to mount up and get ready for patrol. With his weapon clean of the dust and sand that falls into every crevice he straps on his helmet and gives a thumbs up to the convoy commander. His platoon leaves the wire and start their meticulous surveillance of the streets and buildings. Looking for any signs of danger they are menacing as they appear to be daring the enemy to strike first. With enough fire power to level a city block their only fear is the unexpected. He’s focused on his field of fire when it happened. Like being dropped on your back the explosion rattles the root of his tongue. Startled he finds the smoke plume in the distance. The radios buzz. The orders are clear get to base and help secure the chow hall. The five minute drive feels like an hour. They pull up to the devastation. Chaos ensues, screams from injured Soldiers coming from inside the now decimated building. He dismounts his vehicle and runs into the smoke. Passing the wounded and dead, looking for the threat ready to neutralize it.
On the other side of the world she climbs out of bed. Blindly, she turns on the news and starts breakfast. Halfway through her bowl of Oats the anchor breaks news of an attack on a military base in the desert. The same base that her husband has been serving on for the last 4 months. The news anchor confirms that the attack has caused the most amount of casualties than any other attack to this point in the war. His information is limited though. They refuse to release any names until the families have been notified. She sits down in shock as her two year old comes in and ask for some cereal.
The next 4 days is a struggle. Searching news feeds, looking and trying to find a recognizable face in the footage. She hasn’t slept, still waiting on a phone call. Soldiers are not allowed to call home until the injured family’s have been notified. She knows that no news is good news but, why haven’t the families been notified? Why hasn’t he called?
Finally her mom talks her in to going out to dinner. She needs a brake. She hasn’t left the house in a week. Still waiting not losing hope. She convinces herself to put it together. She turns on her favorite music and hops in the shower. As she is getting dressed and putting on her make up her mom keeps her company. They tell stories of happier times. They find themselves smiling with tears in their eyes. Finally ready, for the evening, she gets her daughter settled in and provides the last bit of instruction to the baby sitter. She remembers the child’s sippy cup in the refrigerator. Opening the fridge and grabbing the cup she’s paralyzed by a sudden and unexpected knock on the door. The cup drops from her hand and her stomachs falls to her feet. Slowly she walks across the living room. At the threshold her arm is so heavy she can barely lift it. She takes a deep breath, says a prayer and opens the door.