Army Mom’s Safe Haven

Christina

THE NIGHT BEFORE
(for Rod)

Christina: The Night BeforeWe lay in bed that night
listening to Rod McKuen’s records
The Sand, The Sea, the Sky –
he finally fell asleep
and that’s when I began to cry –
All kinds of strange imaginings
passed before my eye
as I listened to the ticking
of the minutes on
the alarm clock going by –

After making love and talking,
he finally slept –
I knew the words he said
would be the ones I always kept
inside my head.
We had a son, a baby
9 months old –
and he slept, too, in his
little baby bed.
Innocent of War.
I knew
that when his father returned,
he wouldn’t remember him anymore.

I played “The Sea” on “low”…
over and over, and then,
suddenly, it was morning
once again –
No matter how I tried to stop it,
the sun rose anyway…
and now it was the “dreaded day”.

Up early, getting dressed
a smile upon my face –
so much to say to each other
and neither was able to speak –
I wanted to scream “Don’t go”
but that would never do –
He played with the baby,
Hide and Seek.

You’ll be hiding, all right, I thought,
too far away to be found –
I thought of all these things to say
and couldn’t utter a sound.

Off to the airport and checked the bags;
regular passengers unknowing
All by himself with a wife
and parents whose fears weren’t showing.

And then… he was gone.
And we went home.
I broke down in the kitchen
and I said to my mom:
“What if he doesn’t come home?”
It’ll be ok, she said –
you have us, and you have your son…
it’ll be ok… she said again, and again.

It was noon, and he’d been gone
since ten.

The Farewell Trilogy
Part 1: The Night Before: Christina
Part 2: Last Night…: Anthony W. Pahl
Part 3: Bruised Souls And Splintered Lives: Robert E. Wheatley