Her bumper sticker is peeling. The one that says 'I (heart) my Marine!' It's been months, but it's still true, so she keeps it, letting it peel and fade in the weather like a scab. Like a scar.
The sticker is hers, the truck is his. Nevermind that all the paperwork is now in her name. Nevermind he hasn't driven it in a year or more. She drives it to work, and pumps the high-priced gas, and pays to have the summer tires swapped for the snows. But it's his truck.
The wall above the bed becomes his shrine. She papers it with photos. His high school senior photo. Their prom photos. Photos of him with his brother, his sisters, his dogs. Photos of him hugging his mother, laughing with his father. Photos of the two of them hiking, swimming, lounging on the couch, playing touch football with their friends
We got married when we found out she was pregnant. My parents were very nasty about it. They felt I'd somehow taken advantage of her. Good as raped her. Her parents were wonderful. They hosted the wedding, Ed and I wore our dress blues, and took an oath that meant even more than the one we swore to our nation.
Tiger was born just a few months after that. Ed's four year contract was finished, so she found us a little house near the base. She found a job, and she raised Tiger, almost by herself, while I ran PT, stood firewatch, crawled the obstacle courses, fired my rifle, shipped out on West Pac, and ca
Old Glory's stripes tangle
in the storm
Only blanks. Not real bullets. Nothing like the barreling rounds that ripped his flesh and smashed in under his narrow ribs and nailed his life to the inside back of his flack jacket.
That slim silent figure in uniform. Laid out cold and still. Thats not him. Hes not here. He slipped out of his shell somewhere in the middle of a desert city under siege. Hes maybe still there, a little lost. A little uncertain where to go from here. He might linger where his brothers are still fighting. Screaming silent warning. Aching to fight beside them still, to prote