“Faith!” a voice boomed from downstairs, “Phone!”
“Thanks, Dad!” Her heart skipped a beat as she reached for the phone and flopped in her comfy chair. “Hello?” When she didn’t get an immediate response, she felt uneasy.
“Um… we need to talk.” His voice wavered a bit. “Can you meet me at the park in twenty minutes?”
She let out the breath that she didn’t realize she’d been holding, trying to calm her unfounded fears. “Sure. I’ll be right there.” It was probably nothing. Jonathan had been a little distracted lately, but she knew he still loved her, didn’t he? She grabbed her keys and bounced down the stairs as usual. “Off to the park, be back soon,” she called, trying to hide the concern in her voice.
”Just be back in time for dinner,” her mother answered from the kitchen.
As she walked the well-worn path through the park, her mind whirled trying to figure out what he wanted to talk about. Every since he took the job at the factory, they hadn’t been able to spend much time together, She’d be leaving for school soon, which meant even less time together, as it was a three hour drive to campus. What if he’d listened to his friends who said he shouldn’t be dating a college girl? His buddies had really given him a hard time when they learned about the purity vow they took when he first started dating her.
Turning the corner, she saw him on their bench, where they met as children many summers ago. She smiled at the memory of running into him, literally, as he was going backward trying to catch a football tossed by one of his buddies. He returned her smile as she sat, but there was that sadness in his eyes that she didn’t understand.
“Hi, Faith,” he took her hand as she sat. “I’ve come to a decision….”
The fear in her stomach was like a rock, but she said a quick prayer to accept what he said. “Yes?”
“I’m going to enlist in the Air Force. They need mechanics. The pay is better than what I’m making at the factory and….” he paused.
She could feel the tears beginning to well up. Her throat tightened. “And?” she whispered, barely getting the word out of her mouth.
”And I’m going to need that money if I’m going to provide for our future.”
”Future?” she asked, stunned, not even noticing the small blue box he pulled from his pocket.
He took out the ring and got down on one knee. “Faith, will you marry me when I finish serving our country?”
“Jonathan!” She finally saw the diamond glint in the sun. “Of course I will, but it will be so hard to be apart for so long!”
He slid the ring on her hand and sat beside her. “Yes, but we barely see each other now. We can write, and I’ll be home on leave when I can. You have four years of school anyway. This way I won’t be a distraction from your studies.”
She was still trying to process everything, as she looked at the tiny rock on her hand. Images flashed through her mind from those old movies her parents watched. Tattered, perfume-sprayed envelopes folded and carried next to the soldier’s heart. A worn picture stared at every night. “I’ll write you everyday and pray all the time.”
“I know you will.” He smiled again, this time his eyes joined. “I’ll be looking forward to getting a post card every day at mail call.”
”Post card? Why a post card?”
He grinned, ”So we won’t write any love letters our kids will be embarrassed to read after we’re old and gray.”
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