How hard it had been sharing your excitement. Naturally, I was happy for you and proud. You deserved the opportunity to prove what an outstanding journalist you were, covering a war you were so emotionally invested in. But for me, only long, lonely months lay ahead.

Your promise to be home by summer was all I had to hold onto, and your letters, of course. Letters that became fewer as the months passed. While your articles became more frequent and, poignantly, more revealing.

They contained just a brief mention at first. A nurse, putting her life on the line for others. Before she became the focus and heart of your stories. Each recounting one after another of her selfless acts — a true hero.

I forced myself to block out the suspicions and dark thoughts that infiltrated my mind and to look to the future.

Our future. And the promise of summer.

We’d revisit all our favourite haunts and relive precious memories. And we’d discover new places and make more memories.

My misplaced imaginings and feelings of isolation would be a thing of the past. And you would be mine again.

These were the thoughts that sustained me until your last letter arrived.

You were coming home!

A cloudless blue sky and scorching sun welcomed you on that day I’d dreamed about for so long.  But a heatwave proved no match for the words I’d read in your article that morning. Words that chilled me to the bone.

I don’t know what I expected. You looked no different from the day we said goodbye.

But you were different. How could you not be? Your angel of mercy had lost her life only days before.

What should have been the summer of my life was now overshadowed by hers.

A wave of helplessness engulfed me while my whole being ached for you.

Then your arms wrapped around me. And I knew. You needed me just as much as I needed you.

With love and understanding, we’d get through this summer.

Facing the future together, with the promise of summers to come.

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    2 months ago

    Very poignant Linda and this must be true of many people operating in war zones away from their immediate loved ones who find consolation in others but are still engulfed in the horrors of war.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 months ago

    What a beautiful and emotional story, Linda. It went straight to my heart. How many others must go through a similar situation, finding solace in another who shares the same dreadful experiences? I’m so glad that your protagonist will still have her happy ending. A lovely read.

    Thompson Emate
    Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
    2 months ago

    A lovely story, Linda that needs to be read over and over again. A worthy shortlist. I love your approach to the prompt. A beautiful one.

    Sandra OReilly
    Sandra OReilly(@sandra-oreilly)
    2 months ago

    Stunning Linda you go straight for the heart and succeed in piercing it – I really thought he was coming home to tell his girl he was leaving her for the nurse. Your ending surprised me.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 months ago

    Your story is very moving, Linda. I feel saddened that it is happening in real life. But I am glad that your protagonist won to have him back and have a happy ending. Very nicely done.

    Last edited 2 months ago by Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Linda Rock
    2 months ago

    Great job.

    Lisa Dykes
    Lisa Dykes(@lisa-dykes)
    2 months ago

    A very moving story, Linda. Thought provoking about relationships.

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    2 months ago

    A very tender story based on a summer of love. Sweet writing, Linda.

    Greene M Wills
    Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
    2 months ago

    Your story stole my breath away, Linda. I totally felt the protagonist’s hope and patience, waiting for her soulmate to come back, the chilling fear that the other half might not be just that anymore and then, the immeasurable relief of the return and their arms around each other…priceless!

    Susan Giles
    Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
    2 months ago

    This is a situation that, sadly, a lot of couples go through. You handled it with skill, sensibility, and beautiful prose. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Marianna Pieterse
    Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
    1 month ago

    Linda, this was a beautiful story! I expected him to come back either injured or telling her that it was over between them. I was very happy to read that I was wrong and that they both needed each other still!

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