It had been a while since I had seen her, I still remember the first time we met, she was about six. She was the cutest little girl I had ever seen. I was sitting in the park sulking, I had just gotten into another fight with Arthur. She must have seen me and out of curiosity, came to see why I was upset.
Hey mister, why you crying? She asked. Her big (e/c) eyes, staring up at me.
I got into another argument with my dad? I said.
Is he scary? Is that why you're hiding here from him? she asked. Her question caught me a little off guard.
No, he lives in England and we were arguing over the phone.
Sometimes my daddy is scary when he gets mad at me, but he always goes back to being my regular daddy. I'm sure yours will to. Hey, you wanna play with me? She smiled. She had such a big, bright smile, how could I say no.
Sure. I said as she grabbed my hand and pulled me up. She brought me to her friends.
This is my new friend and he's gonna play with us too. She smiled.
What's his name? One of the other boys asked.
Oh, I forgot to ask.
Then how can he be your friend if you don't even know his name? The boy asked.
I'm Alfred. I smiled at them.
See, I know his name, that means he's my friend. She said, a little irritated with the other little boy.
Does he even know your name? The same little boy asked.
She tugged on my sleeve and gestured for to lean down to her, so of course, I did. She then whispered her name to me.
It's ____. I smiled at the little boy.
So, what are you kids playing? I asked.
Hide 'n' seek! She smiled up at me.
Tommy's it, so come on, let's hide! She said, laughing as she pulled me along with her.
I couldn't help but smile at the memory of our first meeting. She was still as bright and bubbly as the first day I ever met her, but today, she seemed a bit different. Quiet, distant and drawn into her own thoughts. Which I thought a little odd, since she was the one that asked for us to hang out today.
___, are you ok? You seem a little out of it. I asked.
Hmm, oh, yea, sorry. Just got a little distracted, that's all. Now come on! She smiled that beautiful smile as she pulled me into the county fair.
See, she had just gotten back from basic training. I was so happy to hear that I was the first person she wanted to see when she got home. I mean, after seeing her family and all. She was more special to me than I ever told her, but being who I am, it's not like I could ever tell her. There was no possibility for a future for us. But she knew, I had told her a long time ago. She knew I was the personification of America, she's even met England and Canada. England didn't like that I had told her, but I had to, she was my best friend and I needed someone to talk to besides the other countries. She's helped me out so much, I just wish there was a way I could repay her. I guess the only thing I can do is be her friend.
Our day at the fair was great! We went on all the rides, ate lots of carnival food, we even did one of those photo booth things. I'd never really done one before, she had me hold on to the pictures, she was worried they would get lost if she held on to them, so I kept them in my wallet.
The day was winding down and she wanted to go to our swimming hole. It was pretty hot out, so I was all for it. We swam and played like we used to when she was a kid.
I had built a fire to help us dry off and also because it was starting to get cold.
Hey, Alfred? She said as she stared into the fire
Yea. I said, looking at her. She turned her head and smiled at me. It wasn't her usual big, bright, lets get into trouble smile. No, this one was different. I had never seen this one before.
I looked at her curiously as she crawled over to me. Then she did the one thing I never thought she would do, but had wanted to do to her for a while now. She kissed me.
When she pulled away, she was still smiling, I could see a faint blush on her cheeks. I couldn't help but stare at her, eyes wide and mouth hanging open, I'm sure I looked like a total idiot. But she had opened the door, I couldn't hold my feeling back anymore, I grabbed her face and pulled her in for another kiss.
I don't know how long our tongues danced for, but it was the best feeling in the world. Sure, I had been in love before, but she was different from the others. Maybe it was because I had known her longer, because I had watched her grow up from the sweet, innocent little girl, to the beautiful young woman in front of me.
Alfred? She whispered once I finally broke the kiss.
Why did you do that? I asked.
I had a lot of time to think about things at basic. I told myself that when I got back, I was going to give you the kiss I've always wanted to give you. I didn't really expect for you to kiss me back. She said with a shy giggle.
Why did you join the army? I asked.
Out of the love I have for my country. she said as she looked me directly in the eye. There was no faltering, no wavering on her part. She meant it.
I was actually speechless. I didn't know what to say. Knowing she returned my feelings, I never thought it would happen. Her small giggle brought me out of my thoughts and I smiled at her, putting my hand on her cheek.
I love you too.
She smiled as she bit her lip, then whispered into my ear,
We're going all the way.
The tone in her voice sent a chill up my spine. I knew exactly what she meant as I kissed her again. The neediness apparent to both of us.
When I woke up, I was still at the swimming hole, the fire was barely going. I looked around but didn't see ___ anywhere. I called for her a couple times, but she never replied.
Where did she go? I said. I went to grab my shirt and saw an envelope with my name on it. I opened it and read it. It was from ___.
I'll be gone by the time you get this, more than likely already on the plane to Iraq. I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was being deployed so quickly, but I guess they need troops really bad over there. The other reason I didn't tell you was because I was afraid you'd try to stop me, make some calls, arrange it so I wasn't being shipped overseas. But this is why I joined the army. I love you so much, I know we can never be together, but I wanted to be yours. So, I did the only thing I could think of, I joined the army. It was actually the recruiting posters that gave me the idea. You know the ones that say 'What can you do for your country?' Well, this is what I can do for you. To repay you for always being my best friend and being my one and only love. That's why people join the army, right, out of the love for their country?
I had decided a long time ago that I was going to join the army, I just didn't tell you right away because I was afraid you'd try to talk me out of it.
Alfred, I'm so glad that I met you and that you trusted me enough to tell me who you really were. Ever since I found out, I've wanted to do nothing but protect you. Having seen the way you react to all the attacks and threats, knowing there's nothing you can do about it. Well, let me do it for you. Let me defend you like you did when I was younger.
And, Alfred, I'm glad you were my first. I always wanted it to be you. Now, if I don't come back, I can die with no regrets. I know it's a possibility, I'm not stupid, but if I do make it home in one piece, promise you'll be at the airport waiting for me. You're going to be the first person I want to see when I come home in a year. And Alfred, please let me do this, don't bring me home.
I love you, Alfred, my beloved America. I'll see you in a year!
With all my heart,
When I finished reading it, there were tears in my eyes.
Now, here I am, again holding the letter with tears in my eyes. At her funeral. A month before she was to come home. Knowing I was never going to see her smiling face, hear her laugh, I would never get to hold her again, or kiss her. She would never find a husband, have children and grow old. I wanted to see her children more than anything, now I never would. I should have brought her home! I should never have let her go! I should have done whatever it took to have her transferred somewhere safer! Why did I listen to her?
I was told she died a hero's death. They were under heavy fire, she was trying to evacuate as many people as she could from a building that was on fire. She had gone back in to rescue some kid that was trapped on the second floor. She managed to save the kid by dropping her out of the window. She was about to jump when they said the floor under her collapsed. She never made it out.
They finally found her once the fire died out and were able to clear away the rubble. They said they found a secret bunker under the building that they believed was housing criminals. The bunker was empty when they got there. I doubt there was anything in there to begin with.
Now, my friend was dead and I would never see her again, sometimes, I really hate being immortal.
The funeral was now over and it was time to leave. I don't know why, but something told me to look up. When I did, I saw a girl standing under a tree. She had (h/l/c) hair and she was wearing a white dress. She was far away but close enough that I could see her face. I stopped dead in my tracks. She smiled and waved at me. I would recognize those big (e/c) eyes and that smile anywhere. It was my ____! But how was she here? They just buried here? She blew me a kiss and gave another wave before she walked behind the tree. I ran as fast as I could to the tree, but there was no one there. The tree was in the middle of the cemetery, even if she had ran, I still would have seen her. But there was no one, just the wind.
Excuse me sir, are you Alfred F. Jones? A man in a black suit asked.
Yea. I said, turning to look at him.
This is for you sir. She asked me that if she didn't make it back, I was to give it to you. He gave me a sad smile as he handed me a letter with my name on it. I recognized the hand writing. It was from ___. Another good bye letter?
I quickly opened it and began to read. I didn't even notice the young man leave.
Well, if you're reading this, then I didn't make it. I hope I didn't die in some embarrassing, lame way. I hope it was someway my parents and you would be proud of. I mean, not that you would be proud that I was dead or anything. This is so dumb! I can't believe I let the guys talk me into writing one of these letters. See, we're all doing it, then we're giving them to the Sgt so that if something happens to us, they can give the letters to our families. I wrote one for my parents to. But I really wanted to write one to you. Please don't be sad. If I had to do it all over again, I would. I wouldn't have changed anything. I'm so glad I met you and you were my first everything. First kiss, first love, first, you know.
Please, Alfred, don't be sad for me, unless I died in some embarrassing way, then be really sad for me and make something better up. Anyway, don't mope for too long. I want you to get on with your life and be happy. Meet other people, love them, be their friends, you'll be lonely if you never make any friends. And please, don't make friends with any of those damn politicians! I plan on haunting them anyway. So be happy Alfred, make me proud of you and never change! Please, Alfred! I beg you, never change! Always be the happy, goofy, hero complex, silly guy that you are. It's what I love most about you. God, I hope I died like a hero!
But, anyway. Alfred, don't regret anything! Go on being happy, because if you don't, I'm going to come back and haunt your ass. I will scare the crap out of you until you stop mopping! I mean it too!
Crap, well, I gotta go, we're doing a raid on this small village. Wish I could tell you more about it, but you know how this military stuff is, plus, I'm pretty sure they read these. If I put too much about what we're doing out here, you'll never get this.
I love you, Alfred, and I'll see you when I get home!
Love forever and always,
As I finished the letter, it dawned on me that this was probably the last thing she wrote before she died. I began to wonder if her last thoughts were of me. I sat down and leaned up against the tree, hiding my face in my hands as I started sobbing uncontrollably.
I looked up as I felt hands run through my hair and down the side of my face. It was ____.
Please don't cry, Alfred. She said, but it sounded more like a whisper as if her voice was being carried on the wind that was blowing through the tree.
I miss you. I sobbed.
I know. I'm sorry. she said, kneeling down in front of me.
Why did you have play the hero? I asked.
Would you have done it any different? She smiled. She was right, I would have done the exact same thing.
It's all my fault.
No it's not. I didn't do anything that I didn't want to do.
Alfred, stop. It was my choice, my actions. I did everything of my own free will. Nothing is your fault. She was still touching my cheek. Her hand felt so cold against my skin.
I have to go now Alfred. You better cheer up, or I'll seriously come back and scare the crap out of you. She said, giving me her signature smile. I couldn't help by smile back.
I love you. She whispered, giving me a gently kiss on the lips.
Alfred, there you are. What are you doing up here by yourself? I looked up to see Matthew, I was laying on the ground. I had fallen asleep, it was just a dream. I let out a heavy sigh as I got up.
It's all right. Come on, I'll take you home. He said, putting his arm around my shoulders.
Do you think I'll ever be able to be happy again? I asked as we walked to his car. As I finished, a gust of wind blew through us and I swear it said,