Nancy L. Meek

AFTER THE WAR, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

I tried my best to bring you back
From the hell that you’d been through
To help you get your life back on track
Turn your attention from your waterloo

But, no matter what I did back then
To help you forget the awful past,
I’d see you gazing off now and then
Reliving days you thought would be your last

You tried so hard to make me see
What the war had done to you
Pointing to your leg, severed at the knee
As if there was something I could do

I’d throw my hands up in the air
Aggravated by your endless whine
Telling me I really should have been there
Feeling the shivers running up and down my spine

You spoke of horrors I’d only read in books
Seen in movies or upon the TV screen
Then when I said, “So?” you gave me dirty looks
Slicing into me with eyes so dark and mean

I was at a loss, not knowing what to say
Not knowing what to do for things to change
I only knew I didn’t like you at all that way
Seeing how different you’d become... how strange.

I missed the days before the war
Before you became this man I did not know
I wondered what I was holding on for
Thinking, one day, I might just tell you so

There were many nights we would go to bed
Cold as stones under the covers
So different from the nights when we first wed
When we couldn’t get enough of being lovers

One day, you wheeled your chair into the yard
As I stood at the door, watching you there
Little did you know that I, too, was crying hard;
Pissed at how life could be so damned unfair

I tried to put myself in your place
Not always succeeding, but at least I tried
Imagining the torment you had to face
How at any second, you could have died

I didn’t know if I could have handled it
Any better than you did at the time
In fact, the more I thought about it
I think I probably would have lost my mind

I considered how I would feel
Coming home to someone like me
Who loved to kick off her shoes and dance a reel;
Living life to the max, swinging free

I didn’t like the feeling I had inside
Or the woman I had become
I had put my feelings first and yours denied
My heart growing cold and numb

Then just for an instant, I felt your pain
Your callused hands upon the wheels
The flicker of hope that comes and goes again
The emptiness that every soldier feels

So, I stepped out into the yard
Stopping just in front of you there
And I leaned and kissed you hard
And told you, “I do care!”

“Whatever you need to share with me,
Feel free to tell me, Dear.
I am your wife and you’re my life, you see,
For better or worse, I will always be here.”

The look you give tells me you remember that day
And later on into that blessed night.
When just for a moment, the war had gone away
And everything felt so very right.