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Saturday, June 7, 2014


The small picture of Jess was the only thing that kept me going in those dark days of mud and death.  I kept it in a small locket she'd given me the day before I was deployed.  Whenever we had to bunker down under enemy fire or crawl face first in blood and grass just to get some strategic position, I'd keep the locket held tight in my fist or around my neck.  I kept it open at night so I could read her every letter I wrote.  She was there when our battalion got crushed, when I got shot.  The last thing I looked at before they cut off my foot was her serene smile.  She kept me going.

Or so I thought.

From the moment the dirt on the runway crunched under my shoes in my hometown to the final awkward, difficult steps up to her front door, all I could think of was how much I wanted to hold her.  I hadn't told her I was home.  I wanted to surprise her.  But when I knocked, she didn't answer the door.  I didn't know who he was, but he was wearing her perfume.

I still have the locket with her picture in it.  I know now that she couldn't wait forever, that she had to move on.  Now, the locket represents an ideal, a love we once shared, a love that still drives me on to this day.


  1. Aw, how sad...and very well written Spencer!

  2. Stories like this were common when I was in the Marines. I remember the first ship we were on when we went to the gulf (the first war in 1990). There was a spot in the ship, a haunted spot, where a sailor had hung himself after a deployment when he found his wife in bed with three Marines.

    At least in your story here he has a better outlook on the tragedy of life.

  3. I was thinking about changing the ending. I'll think about it...