“Careful,” the nurse warned, “it isn’t pretty.”
It was my first time at the hospital since the operation. It was the first time I had been able to visit Tommy since he’d gone off to war. The nurse had told me everything, and as I stood by the door, I could feel my heart pounding; I was scared of what sights awaited me.
The nurse opened the door. The moment I locked eyes with Tommy, he smiled. My heart melted in an instant, and I felt a wave of relief crash over me. He was smiling. He was okay. Suddenly I looked at the empty sleeve that was once his arm.
I allowed my face to drop. “Oh my…!” I exclaimed, taking in the bloody patch that still seeped through the fabric. “That’s disgusting!” I emphasised the revulsion in my voice. “What in the hell happened to you?! What kind of dark evi-” I paused, mid-word for effect, then tilted my head to take in Tommy’s horrified look for a split second longer. “Oh wait…” I straightened my expression out slowly, feeling the glare of a shocked nurse drilling into my soul. “They, um,” I looked from Tommy to the nurse, then back, comparing faces. “They didn’t…” one last dramatic pause. “They didn’t get your face…” I sheepishly batted my eyelashes, hoping against all hope that they got that I was joking…
Tommy’s face split into a huge grin, and the nurse slapped my arm as she reluctantly began to laugh. The tension I had created had dissipated immediately, and I hoped that the awkwardness that may have surrounded the situation before was left for dust. We laughed together, before Tommy threw out his remaining arm in an invitation to hug. I smiled cheekily, and folded myself into his embrace. I nuzzled into his neck on the uninjured side, and squeezed him tight against my body.
Feeling his body heat reminded me that I could have so easily lost him… I suddenly wanted to cry against his chest, but I managed to resist the urge. He was alive. His heart was beating loud enough for me to hear it, and I couldn’t be happier. His breaths moved me, in every way possible.
The nurse chuckled, just watching us for a second. “I really thought you were serious for a moment,” she laughed.
I laughed, reluctantly leaving Tommy’s hold to sit next to him instead. “I would never say something like that and mean it.”
The nurse nodded, smiled, and walked away. Tommy chuckled. I smiled briefly, looking at him with all the love in the world. It had been a long few months for the both of us – I had been beside myself with worry for him, and when I heard the news of his injury… I’d never felt so lost. His smile fell a little as he caught my gaze and our eyes locked on each other. Neither of us was smiling now, but neither of us was sad. I knew that my mind was racing with a need to kiss and hold the man I loved, and I now know that his mind was doing a similar thing. I know this because, without losing eye contact, he pressed his hand around mine, and pulled me closer to him.
My body and mind followed his direction without a second thought, and suddenly we were one. Our lips connected in a kiss that was not so much passionate, as necessary. Each of our bodies knew that words would never be enough; our actions would speak for us. We pressed against each other, and felt what it was to be alive. We let the fear of the war drain away, and the warmth of each other overcome the suffering we had already faced. We felt the love that would keep us going through more suffering; keep us fighting, and keep us winning. We embraced the feeling that allowed us to be where we are today – happy, victorious, and in love.