The First and Last Time


She’s standing on a lonely beach. The setting sky is like a rainbow of goodbyes. Each color deepening as the realization of the situation hits. Like the tides slowly, yet heavily hitting the shore. Suddenly she is wrapped in a familiar embrace. It’s warm and strong. She feels safe. It feels right. She can’t imagine anything else feeling so right. The wind blows the back of her dress ever so slightly. She can feel it blowing her hair. She doesn’t move with it or against it. She is afraid of losing the moment. This is the moment she’s been waiting for. Everything starts falling in place. Yet she knows it is about to fall apart…

She pulls back but doesn’t let go, neither does he. It’s like a scene from a movie. He looks down at her. His sweet brown eyes seem to lighten with an intense passion that cannot be described. It sounds crazy, but that is what she saw and felt in that moment.
She hates the fact that this is goodbye. She wishes she could change everything. Go back in time and make everyone of their moments together longer, sweeter, more meaningful. But she can’t. They both know this is a test. God has given her many over the years. She’s unsure whether she’s going to pass. This realization deeply saddens her…

She realizes that while she was lost in thought, she was looking down. Avoiding his rich honey colored eyes. Her eyes begin to tear. This is the last time she is going to see him for eight months. She doesn’t want him to leave. She knows he knows this. His recruiter knows this. Hell, the entire town knows. Guess that’s what happens when you fall in love in a small town. But, that’s not stopping him. He says it’s something he must do. So, she finally stopped begging. It only made her feel worse.

As this day grew ominously closer, her depression came sweeping in. He was still here. He still called her every night and told her he loved her. Yet, even when they were in a crowded room together, she still felt alone. She couldn’t explain it. She knew he could tell no matter how well she hid it from everyone else. She was literally tied together with a smile. She knew he could tell though. When it came to him she was an open book. She always had been. He knew her better than anyone. He could always see through her facades. It had taken him a little over a month to figure her out completely. It confused the hell out of her. It still does to this very day.

She looks up at him and the tears start to flow freely. She’d never cried in front of anyone until she met him. She looks away. When she looks at him again she notices he too is crying. They both know this is going to be hard. This is the second time she has seen him cry…

The first was two and a half years ago; when she almost destroyed her world entirely. It was right before she left for college. She loved him and he loved her. But, she was afraid they were going to lose each other with her so far away for so long. She didn’t want that. That was when she decided to make a clean break. It was anything but that. She told him it was goodbye that she had to leave. But she couldn’t actually bring herself to walk out the door. He was just sitting there with his face in his hands, sobbing. She tried to explain why but the words just wouldn’t come out right. She felt completely empty inside. Then he just got up and walked outside leaving her in the room alone. She followed him worried. It was there, outside in the pouring rain that he confessed his true feelings. How much he truly loved her. How he always had. Since the day they had met he’d been crazy about her. How she’d given him so much more than just friendship, love, and companionship. As a last ditch effort to save the one thing cared about most in life, he dropped to one knee. Right then and there he asked her for her hand in holy matrimony. He asked her to his forever. It wasn’t a typical engagement ring. It was more of a promise ring. It had their date and initials. She knew he had spent every bit of his last few paychecks on it a well as his birthday money. She couldn’t help but smile. He stood and took her into his strong arms as she whispered “Yes!” with tears in her eyes. What had started as goodbye became forever under a darkening sky.

She smiles at the memory coming back to reality. He is still crying and so is she but she knows its his destiny. Tomorrow he’ll be going to boot camp and she’ll be back at Saint Leo. But right now, she wants to savor this sunset. She looks out over the water knowing it’s almost over; that this sunset will be their last for a long time. At the same time it hits her that they will be spending the rest of their lives together. Knowing that this isn’t goodbye forever, that it’s just goodbye for now makes it even harder. At least with goodbye forever there is closure. You know that you’ll never see them again.

The final rays are disappearing over the horizon. She looks up and she can tell that he just got the same urge as her. His hands are warm on the small of her back. As she interlaces her fingers behind his head, their eyes meet and she can see the passion. It’s almost tangible. He starts leaning in and she meets him halfway. There’s a split second of indecision before their lips actually meet. In the moment of indecision she catches her breath and at the same time takes his away. Then it happens. After almost three years that boy still gives her butterflies. He still leaves her breathless. It’s natural, right, and perfect. She knows that by the end of the night they will be sleeping in each other’s arms. This will be night everything happens. It’s been almost three years and tonight will be their first.

The last few rays have been gone for a while before they look at each other again. She knows what they have is only found in story books and movies. Yet, maybe that’s why it’s unique? All she knows is that these next eight months are going to fly. He’ll be back in December. Back in her arms. Everything will be the way it should be again. They hold each other silently for what seems like an eternity. Then they start for the car. Holding her close, with one arm around her waist he whispers “I love you” into her ear. They search for a hotel by the airport so he doesn’t have to go too far tomorrow when he leaves.

Tomorrow will be hard but it can wait. Right now she’s going to be with the man she loves. Loves more than life itself.

Written By: Kristi Niece

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