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Friday, January 20, 2012

Bronwyn Week 87: Coming Home



Bronwyn Keith
Friday


Picture 1


Picture 2


Bronwyn’s Choice: Picture 1

Title:


Coming Home



Fall 1953
Camp Carson, Colorado

Beth nervously stood in the fall sun waiting for the train to pull in. It had been three years since Joey left to fight in Korea. He shipped almost immediately after their wedding. She would never forget that day. They had been teenagers and only married a few months. Over the years Beth worried that he had fallen out of love with her because she rarely received letters from him.

She clutched a new camera to her chest waiting for the train to arrive. She wanted a picture of his return home to hang in their house. All of the families of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment were huddled together; parents, wives, and children holding pictures and letters from their loved ones.

As the train came in to view, the families started cheering. Soldiers hung out of the windows waiving and shouting their greetings. The grinding of the brakes against the wheels made Beth shiver in anticipation. She watched the train stop and the doors open. Soldiers poured out of the train, scanning the crowd for their families. Wives and mothers ran to their soldiers to hold them. Children shied away from their fathers, because they were too young to remember the man in front of them. Beth watched the reunions with tears in her eyes as she waited for her own soldier to disembark.

Her eyes scanned the cars of the train, looking for Joey's familiar face. While he was gone, she slept with his photo on his pillow every night. She knew his face better than her own. As the last of the soldiers got off the train, Beth began to wonder if Joey had missed it. But her worries were chased away when he finally stepped off the train. In the time he was gone, she had forgotten how tall he was. He stood at least a head taller than most of the other men in the regiment. His eyes found her, his smile broadened taking her breath away. As he moved toward her, Beth's eyes drank him in and noticed some changes. He was more muscular and broader across the shoulders than when he left. His long stride quickly ate up the ground between them.

“Hi, beautiful.” His deep tenor gave her a small thrill. The forgotten camera crashed to the ground as Beth threw herself in to his arms. She buried her face in his neck, allowing her tears to flow. His strong arms came around her and held her against his chest. She held on to him tightly, never wanting to let him go. She reluctantly loosened her grip at the sound of a throat clearing behind them.

“Sergeant First Class Graham, sir?” A shy voice said from behind Joey. She heard Joey swear under his breath before he pulled away. As he turned, she could see a blonde soldier, not much taller than she was, waiting with his family for Joey's attention.

“Specialist Johnson, how can I help you?” Joey replied, quietly.

“Um, sir. I want to introduce you to my wife and children.”

Beth watched as Johnson reached for his wife's hand, seeking support from her. He was nervous around Joey. She couldn't fathom why. Joey was the most laid back and gentle person she knew.

“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Johnson.” Joey reached out his hand toward the woman. The small brunette blushed before taking his hand.

“Thank you for saving my Tommy's life, sir.” She said meekly.

“It's all part of the job, ma'am.”

“But sir, not many would've run in to enemy fire to save a fallen soldier. That was very brave of you.” She looked at her husband with tears in her eyes.

Beth remembered one of the rare letters she received after that incident. Joey told her about one of his soldiers going down in battle and returning to rescue him. Joey had taken a bullet to the shoulder in that endeavor, but saved one of his men at the same time.

“You have a brave husband, Mrs Graham.” Mrs. Johnson's attention turned to Beth. “Without him, many of our boys wouldn't have come home.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Johnson.” Beth said as she reached for Joey's hand. His large hand grasped hers and gave her a gentle squeeze.

“We'll let you get back to your homecoming, sir.” Specialist Johnson led his family away toward another soldier.

Joey released Beth's hand and pulled her back in to the circle of his arms. He rested his head on top of hers.

“Shall we go home?” He whispered. “I want to get out of here. I've been dreaming for months of just spending time with you.”

Beth smiled against his chest. She pulled away and looked up. He lowered his head and took her lips in a gentle kiss. When Joey stepped away, she heard the crunching of glass. Looking down, she realized that she had dropped the camera.

“Oh, no.” She knelt to pick up the broken camera. “I didn't get my picture of you. Instead I broke the camera.”

“Don't worry, Beth. There will be plenty of pictures later.” Joey chuckled as he pulled Beth to her feet. “I promise.”

Beth smiled as Joey lead her away from the train station toward their car.

2 comments:

Alby Mangroves said...

This was so beautiful! I especially liked this: "He stood at least a head taller than most of the other men in the regiment. His eyes found her, his smile broadened taking her breath away. As he moved toward her, Beth's eyes drank him in and noticed some changes. He was more muscular and broader across the shoulders than when he left. His long stride quickly ate up the ground between them..." Lovely.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Alby. :-) This was a hard one for me. I knew what I wanted to write but it wasn't easy to put it in to words. I had a few people read it and give me advice.