“Here, open it once the bus is gone.”
I noticed he didn’t say, “once I am gone,” which would have an entirely different meaning to us as a military couple, and put the small box in my pocket.
He leaned in for one last bittersweet kiss and I desperately tried to memorize his scent, the feel of his freshly shaven cheek, the look in his eyes. Then, reluctantly pulling away, he reminded me, “No crying,” and climbed the stairs onto the bus that would take him on the first leg of his journey to Iraq.
Once the bus was out of sight, I hugged the sobbing spouses and fought back my own tears. Beginning the lonely walk back to my car, I thought about all the times I would now be alone. Climbing into the driver’s seat, usually his seat, I shut the door.
I removed the neatly wrapped gift from my pocket and tugged on the bow. Inside was a shiny custom Italian charm bracelet, personalized with his unit crest, our names, our anniversary date, a dragonfly to remember our nature walks, and so many others. That’s when the waterworks started, when I saw the beautiful jewelry with personalization, made just for me.
That my macho soldier had personally selected each charm just for me so that I would have a gift to hold onto when I could not reach out to him.
Before riding off into battle, medieval knights used to exchange tokens with their lady loves… and now I know why. Along with a t-shirt of his I never washed, our wedding photograph, and the note inside the box, that bracelet became one of my most treasured possessions.
It read: “Until I return, may this bracelet encircle your wrist the way I hold you in my heart.”
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Actonia PR Agency. All words and ideas are my own.