Anthony W. Pahl

LAST NIGHT…

The sound of Rod McKuen’s music, The Sand, The Sea, The Sky,
Lulled me off to sleep and in my dreams I heard her cry.
Silent tears and silent sounds of strange imaginings
Blended with the ticking clock and the fear of unknown things.

We made gentle love with a passion and an urgency of life
And emotion numbed the dread of a soldier and his wife.
I told her that I loved her and she’d always be with me
But the despair etched into her face was so very clear to see.

And my eyes slowly opened as I heard our son turn in his crib
He’d be nearly two when I returned; he wouldn’t even know I lived.
And still “The Sea” was playing as I closed my eyes once more
Until the sun rose on the day I was to leave to fight a war.

She was already dressed and watching me with a smile upon her face
And I smiled right back but couldn’t speak; I thought my heart would break.
I wanted to tell her “I won’t go!”, but that was something I could never do
so I played peek-a-boo with my son to hide what we both knew.

Peek-a-boo would soon become a matter of life or death for me
But not a word could I say to her – I could barely breathe.
And I felt like an invisible stranger as I checked in for my flight
Why were Mum and Dad so brave? Did they KNOW I’d be all right?

And the call to board came insistently and I quickly said goodbye.
I hugged Mum and shook Dad’s hand and looked my darling in the eye.
“I’ll be back!” I promised her as I hugged and kissed her one last time.
Then I placed my hand on my son’s head and whispered, “I’ll be fine.”

“Will I see them again?” I asked myself as the numbness left my mind.
“Will they be OK while I’m away?” I asked for the thousandth time
“They’ll be there when I return!” I told myself time and time again,
“But I miss them so; I don’t want to go.” It was noon; I’d been gone since ten…

Submitted for the April 2001 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Leaving

The “Farewell” Trilogy

Part 1: The Night Before by Christina A. Sharik
Part 2: Last Night by Anthony W. Pahl
Part 3: Bruised Souls and Splintered Lives by Robert E. Wheatley