Monday, December 19, 2011

Soldier Home For Christmas

Dear John,

The President announced the troops come home from Iraq. I wonder, will you come off the plane last? Will you be wearing your ACU (the service uniform holds that dusty smell of charcoal) when you ship home? Our son will want to keep that jacket with the letters of your name on the chest. I know it is common enough and we might be able to buy one with SMITH on it at the army surplus, but he will want yours.

In your last letter you wrote about how every night the image of Smith Park’s oak trees and ivy pathways kept your mind green. The sounds of leaves touching in the wind are like karaoke vocalizing the lyrics we listened to on that oldies station. It is December now, they will play Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas on the car radio. I sing along loud and joyful. I keep putting antifreeze into the radiator just as you told me, but the Jeep is running cold.

Things here at home will be strange when you return. I did not have the heart to tell you in my letters that our park is gone.  The city redeveloped the area into something commercial. What remains is a little triangle between busy streets in the neighborhood. They let the grass turn brown. The sign remains steadfast, as I have waited for you my love. It is in front of the graveyard where I hope to finally put you to rest, we will all be together. War has been a troubling enemy I could not touch or understand but knowing it is over will make us start to heal.

Merry Christmas to All With Love,

Copyright © Caroline Gerardo 2011
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