Home > Letters from the Heart, series > Letters from the Heart 8

Letters from the Heart 8

Dear Alex,

I got out of the hospital, the day before yesterday. If you wrote back, I missed it – I hope you wrote back. My legs feel fantastic. The doctors seem amazed at my recovery, but with no need to keep me, they returned me to duty. I got my pack and a chopper dropped me back with my unit. There were nods all around and a couple of knuckle taps, but that was it – back to work. I really like the cold professionalism of the guys. During the off times, we cut up like the best, but when the light goes red and it is “go” time we all drop into a “cold as ice” stare, cool nerves, and liquid teamwork unlike anything I have ever seen. It is like we know what the others are thinking and where they are going.

Utter darkness. It is darker than I ever remember being in in my life – even darker than that apartment we lived in right after we got married. The one with only a single grimy window that would not open. Those nights when the power went out and the place was blacker than pitch and I could not see your lips to kiss them. Here, now, it is so dark as to feel it – as if darkness had a form like an inky fog and it has gummed up everything. Anyway, this was supposed to be a night mission, but something here is wrong.

I used a yellow, but the darkness didn’t lift at all. I remember the fog we got caught in on our second date. We had to pull over because the fog was so thick that we could not see past the windshield, not even the car’s hood. Imagine that same fog, but black and everywhere.

It’s been three hours. the blackness lifted when some flares started dropping from overhead. We were tight in a circle, our backs together, so when they came, we were ready. Charlie and Roger were evac’d with severe injuries, but the rest of us are good. I had to rewrite my letter, I was writing in the utter dark and it was messy. I am afraid that the sound of my pencil on the paper may have revealed our position, but as black as it was, I don’t know how they found us even with the breathing and scratching of my pencil.

It has been another day. We just got word that Charlie didn’t make it. Charlie was the Captain, now, I’m the Captain. Not the way I wanted to get here, but this is the job.

I just got new orders. We are deploying again tonight. I’ll try to write soon.

I’m only a single heartbeat away.

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