Approximately 5,000 words, 12 pages in MSWord (8.5 x 11")
It’s funny, in a strange, sad sort of way. I still wait daily, for her
to come to me, to come home and tell me she’s found the one. The man who
will now fulfill all her dreams, who will bring the romance and fantasy,
she so rightly desires, into her life.
I guess I was wrong. It’s been five years. We’ve been married for five
years. We have two beautiful children. She just told me, last night,
there is going to be a third. But I was wrong to do this to her. To
deprive her of the possibility of an exciting life with a man she could
love with all her heart. It was so selfish. God, I love her so much.
I thought friendship would be enough, it seemed all she wanted from me.
And, as with me, the search for more had become a burden. Not that I
wanted more. She was the answer to all my dreams. I knew it all along,
but by the time I admitted it to myself, she didn’t want to hear it
anymore. Maybe she never did want to hear it.
She agreed though, to a relationship based on our overwhelming
friendship, a friendship that had seen us though tough personal times,
and darkest physical perils. A friendship that had effectively killed
any other relationship either of us had ever attempted. And so we
It happened late one Friday. As was our practice for a while, we ordered
takeout, worked on some cases, to prepare for Monday, and relaxed on the
couch to watch a movie. It must not have interested either of us very
much. I found myself coming slowly awake about 02:00 to discover we were
stretched out on the couch together. She was nestled against me. It felt
so good, so perfect. I wouldn’t have disturbed her, even though I wanted
her so. I had been telling myself I had no right to her body, if I
couldn’t have her soul, but the argument was wavering badly.
When she rolled closer, tangled her leg around mine in a way that
brought my thigh in close contact with……well in close contact, a shot of
something tore through me, that I fought desperately to control. Her
breasts pressed against me, as her head moved to just the right angle. I
just couldn’t stop myself; I kissed her. Gently, but I just had to kiss
I expected to land on my butt on the floor, but it would be worth it. I
guess I felt I could plead being half-asleep. I was enormously surprised
when she not only kissed me back, but also increased the power level.
Then she pulled back, for a moment, and whispered my name. No one
else’s. Mine. And moved for another kiss. After that, neither of us
stopped, neither hesitated, neither looked back.
I gave her everything that night, and every night after. Maybe I
couldn’t say the word, but I could try to show her. Every kiss, and
every caress, was an expression of how I loved her. Sometimes, in her
response, I could pretend I felt my love returned. I know it was a
fantasy; a game of my mind, but it sustained me.
We talked later, but we never mentioned the ‘L’ word. It was all logic
and warm friendship. What better basis for a relationship, we told
ourselves, ingenuously. We felt good with the conviction of our beliefs,
but how much better it could have been, if that one other element had
There were times I wanted to say the word, but I couldn’t risk losing
her. Times I caught a strange look from her, and moved a distraction in
her path, for fear she would say it wasn’t working for her.
We married shortly after that first night, and in time, Lizzie came
along; still I waited for those awful words. That moment, when she would
tell me she was leaving.
When Lizzie was two, Tommy blessed us with his presence. She’s almost
four now and very precocious, he’s almost two and about as big a handful
as two can ever be.
Now there will be a third. I wonder daily how long my heaven, my
happiness, my family, will last. When will she tell me; when will she
leave me, because for her, it’s never been enough.
I told him about the new baby last night. I thought, at least, that
would make him happy. I think it did, momentarily. But as with
everything, there seemed to be a shadow. I know he wanted children, but
I sometimes wonder if I have been unfair.
The deal was for one child, this will be three. I need them though. If
I’m to be alone, I at least want that from him. I will have his
children, and I will always have some part of him. They are wonderful
children, and I will try to give them all the happiness the world has to
I wonder, if I’m being selfish in this, as well. I know one day he will
come and tell me that friendship isn’t enough, that he wants excitement
and romance. Some playful blonde will catch his eye and capture his
imagination, and the hunt will be on. But until then, I will spend each
day absorbing the wonder of being part of his life, and giving life to
his children. It’s what I live for.
I know I was selfish, when I accepted his offer, of a life together
based on friendship. I had always hoped for so much more. Almost from
the day I laid eyes on him, I wanted him for my own.
Oh I know, I pushed him away, I ran from him; he scared me to death with
the depth of my feelings for him. I couldn’t let him see. I couldn’t let
him think I was just another of the women who fell all over themselves,
to have a glance or a smile from him. Another of his groupies. Besides
what chance did I have? I wasn’t slender and blonde, and I wasn’t going
to get it from a bottle, blonde hair just wasn’t me.
But when he suggested, in the heat of that very spontaneous moment, that
perhaps our friendship could sustain us for the future, I leaped at the
offer. After all, we had a virtually unbreakable bond that had lasted
through the natural disaster that constituted both our lives. The fact
that I loved him beyond all reason was enough for me. I could do this. I
guess at the time, I didn’t stop to think whether he could.
When we’ve made love he’s always been so sweet, yet passionate. So
gentle, yet strong. He makes it seem, for a little while, as if he
really loves me, and I get lost in the feelings. I can show him how I
feel, even if I’m never allowed to say the word.
I don’t know what I’ll do when he leaves. My life will end, and yet it
can’t end, because I will have the children. So, I awake each morning
and pray he will stay just one more day. I go to sleep each night and
thank God that he is still with me. I’m not certain how much longer I
can live with the uncertainty. Sometimes I think I’ll just end it, just
get it over with, but I know I can never leave him. And as a result, I
stay, and I pray.
Six months later
I’m sitting in his Lexus, waiting for him. At eight and a half months
pregnant, it’s more comfortable than my Corvette, and he insists I drive
it, because it’s safer. It’s about to rain, but I’m not shivering from
the cold. He left a note with my yeoman this afternoon, while I was in
Meet me at the west entrance to Little River Park at 17:00.
That’s all it said. Little River Park is halfway home. I got out of
court at 16:30, and I just barely had time to get here. I know this is
it. It’s 17:10; he can’t even be on time for this.
I think I knew two weeks ago. We were shopping, for the baby, at the
mall. I looked up from wiping Tommy’s nose, to find him staring at a
group of sub 20 something girls. Not surprising, just a bit
disappointing, I always assumed he was, at least, a little more mature.
Never had him pegged as the mid-life crisis type.
God, they were a sight, their hair was longer than their skirts, their
flat stomachs peeked from under short knit tops, and their legs went all
the way to their chins.
I tossed a caustic comment his way, about taking the children home, so
he could finish his shopping. He blushed furiously and stammered
something inane about never allowing Lizzie to dress that way. Didn’t
really seem like a pressing problem since she’s only a little more than
four. But at that point, I figured it was only a matter of time.
And now, I’m waiting by a closed park entrance, to hear him utter those
fateful words. Maybe its better this way, it won’t be in front of the
He just pulled up, and he’s walking toward me, slowly, reluctantly,
almost. I open the door and start to get out, but he stops me, with his
hand on my arm.
“Stay inside, it’s starting to rain, you’ll get cold.” I see, almost
fear, in his eyes, but at least he looks concerned for me. “I’m sorry
Sarah, I had to go home to pack, and say goodbye to the children. I
wanted to see you, but there wasn’t time to get back to your office.
Please forgive me, I’ll make it up to you somehow, but I have to go.”
The pain is physical, and I know I cry out. It couldn’t hurt more if I’d
been kicked in the stomach.
I knew she’d be upset; but I haven’t even explained, and she’s already
crying. I’ve never seen a look on her face like that. She’s been acting
oddly for several weeks now.
Her doctor said this pregnancy is harder on her than the others. He’s as
puzzled as I am, because she’s in good health. She won’t allow me to
comfort her. She’s always loved to be held and cuddled, but now I’m
lucky to even get an impersonal goodbye kiss.
I’m beginning to wonder if now will be the time. If I’ll come back and
find her gone. But I have to go; I have orders
“Sarah please, listen to me. I don’t want to go, honestly, but I have
to. It’s only for one night and one day. I’ll be back by Sunday.” I try
desperately to explain.
“Sunday?” she looks at me as if I’m speaking a foreign language.
“Look Sarah, I know I said I would try to put the flights on hold until
you delivered, but please understand, please. They had a flu outbreak at
Pax River, and there’s no one else. They had to call up everyone they
could find; they’re flying double backs, and its just too dangerous. The
CAP flights have to be flown.”
“CAP flight?” Now she’s starting to sob. God please, I have to go, and I
can’t leave her like this. Please help me out here. Maybe I can call
Harriet or Meredith.
“Of course, a CAP flight, where else have I gone in the last two years?
You know I don’t do field investigations any more. Sarah I don’t
understand.” I’m puzzled by her response and it’s making me crazy. I
expected her to be angry, but not hysterical.
“You’re flying a CAP flight?” She repeats. The sobbing has stopped, but
“Yes, but only two. By Sunday, the regular crew should be rotating back.
Sarah, I know we were going out for our last dinner, before your
delivery, but could we postpone it until Sunday? I’ll be back in plenty
of time. Sarah, I need to know you are going to be OK. I have to be
there by 20:00 for preflight.” I’m pleading for just the hint of sanity
She nods, and dries her eyes. It’s one of her sudden, Marine, suck it up
moves. I am confused.
“I’ll be OK Harm. Go ahead. The weather’s getting bad. I don’t want you
speeding. Go ahead, go.” Suddenly she’s completely collected. Except for
the tear tracks on her face, you’d never know how out of control she had
been, just moments before.
Now, I’m more confused than ever. She’s clutching my hand, but telling
me to go. I look down at our joined hands.
“Harm, you’re getting wet. It’s starting to rain. You can’t catch a
chill, you’ll get sick.” She is suddenly so intense.
“Sarah, are you going to be all right?” Maybe I can call and be excused.
I’m not sure I can leave her.
“I’ll be fine Harm.” She declares more firmly than I expected. “You’ll
come back?” She then asks, sounding so small and uncertain.
“Of course, I’ll come back. Why wouldn’t I come back?” I’m slightly
And all at once, it hits me, all these years, it couldn’t be. But I look
into her eyes and I think I see.
“Go, Harm, before you get soaked. Drive safely and good luck.” She
always wishes me good luck when I fly. Her voice is soft and caring.
I lean into the car, and kiss her in a way I don’t think I’ve ever
kissed her before.
“Bye Darling,” I say, and closing the door, I sprint for the Corvette. I
need to drive very carefully. And I need to think very hard.
Darling? He’s never called me darling before. Never. He calls me Sarah,
and sometimes it sounds like an endearment, especially when we’re alone.
Mostly, he still calls me Mac.
Where did ‘Darling’ come from? The way he just kissed me… something… it
Oh no! No, it couldn’t be. Not all this time, it just couldn’t. That
wouldn’t be fair.
I open the door and scream his name, but he has turned the car and is
driving off. He couldn’t hear me over the wind.
“Good luck flyboy,” I whisper. “Come back to me, please come back.”
I close the door and start the car, turning for home and our children.
Lizzie will be so excited. She already loves the idea of flying. Harm
takes her up in Sarah often, and in spite of the expense, he is having a
little flight jacket made for her as a Christmas present. Tommy will
just be upset because his daddy isn’t home.
What was that? A small cramp? It’s been a long week and I’m tired. Maybe
Mrs. Brower will wait while I take a warm shower. She was going to stay
the evening anyway, while we went to dinner. Surely, she will stay an
hour or so.
I’m not sure what woke me. I listen for the children but they are quiet.
I’m so tired, but in a minute, I’ll get up and check on them.
Mrs. Brower was so very kind. She not only stayed while I took a long
shower, she made us some nice, thick, soup for dinner. Perfect for a wet
After she helped me tuck Lizzie and Tommy into bed, I insisted she stay
in the guest room. It was just too nasty out, for her to go home last
I’m worried about Harm flying in this weather. It always brings back bad
memories. But I know he’s a great pilot, and reason tells me his plane
was flawed, on that fateful flight.
I wish he was here beside me, but I would never ask him not to go.
Flying is part of who he is. I won’t stand for him to stop flying,
unless or until it’s his decision. I certainly will never ask him to
stop. It’s a part of what makes him the man I love.
And there’s another thought. When I arrived home, I was so tired, there
wasn’t time to think about it, and then I fell asleep soon after the
children. But what exactly happened when we said goodbye. Something
suddenly slipped sideways. I wonder…..?
Ooooww! Oh my God, that’s what woke me. This isn’t supposed to happen
for nearly two more weeks. I can’t have this baby now. Harm won’t be
back until tomorrow. OK breathe, until it relaxes again. That’s better.
Now get up, go check on the children.
They’re fine, still sleeping.
Call the Admiral and Meredith. They will understand. They will help.
Good, they’re on the way.
Now, wake Mrs. Brower.
Fine, she will stay with the children, until Bud and Harriet wake up.
Can’t wake their children at 05:15.
Mrs. Brower made us some tea. I just had another contraction. They don’t
feel right. I hear the Admiral and Meredith at the door. I’m going to
ask him to take me to the hospital to be checked.
We were ordered here, after our flight, due to weather conditions. The
storm was short but severe. The carrier was beyond the edge, the flying
It’s still raining inland, but the winds are down.
As I ready for my flight, I can’t help allowing my mind to slip over
what flying means to me. I once, jokingly, told someone it was the most
fun anyone ever was paid for. Like stealing from the government. In a
way, it’s true. Taking this powerful metal bird into the sky, rolling,
looping, soaring. Until I met Sarah, there was nothing to compare.
Sarah, there’s another thought. The flight last night gave me time to
think. That is, I don’t consciously think when I’m flying; I mean I
don’t dwell on things. There’s no time for distractions. But any time
I’m in or near a plane, is a good time for the sub-conscious to sort
Like now, when I’m pre-flighting my bird. As I walk around it, my
fingers trail the surface; I feel the strong, smooth titanium skin under
my hand. I know that, shortly, I will climb aboard, and become the
conscience and soul of this overwhelming machine of destruction and
protection. That I alone have the responsibility of adding humanity to
it’s circuits, metal and munitions. I’m not sure anyone can understand,
or if it can be explained. I only know the honor, privilege, and
responsibility, which go with the joy and pleasure, make the experience
undeniably unique and humbling.
I also know with certainty, that she understands. She, of all people.
She gets deathly ill in my beloved Tomcat, but still she knows.
So, during last night’s flight, she was with me, and in some part of my
mind, we talked of things never said before. I know this won’t be my
last flight. But, it just may be the most important. I discovered
something up there; something I never knew was mine.
I’m concerned, though, on another level. I woke with an odd feeling
something was wrong. I had one chance at the phones, but the machine
picked up. I left a brief message telling her where I am, and what
I told her I loved her. It wasn’t fair. I shouldn’t say that, for the
first time, to a machine, but I had to say it. I’m not sure why.
I’ll be home soon. I’ll tell her again.
I’m so tired. I’m not sure what time it is any more. It’s been hours. I
need Harm. Why can’t they find Harm?
The Admiral is talking to my doctor; I hear something about a medical
release. Words about depression, anxiety, extreme stress, hormone
imbalance, fatigue. Someone has to tell me what’s happening. I try to
rise, but fall back.
Now Harriet is with them, I call to her.
“I’m here, Mac.” I feel her take my hand.
“Harriet please, where’s Harm? Tell me what’s happening.” My voice
sounds strange to me. So far away.
“Mac, listen carefully. I have something to tell you. I need you to
understand what I’m going to say.” Harriet isn’t usually so intense.
“No!” I cry, “not Harm!”
“No! No, easy Mac. Harm’s fine, we just can’t contact him right now. The
Admiral’s been trying, but we missed him.” Somehow, I realize she’s
trying to explain.
“Missed him? Tell me.” My brain is foggy.
“Listen Mac, this is more important. Harm’s fine, but you are exhausted.
You’re getting weak and so is the baby. She hasn’t turned properly. The
doctor is afraid she can’t deliver naturally. Mac, please listen, they
need your approval for a Caesarian. There isn’t much more time.”
“But Harriet, why? I need Harm, I can’t think. Please get Harm.” I know
I’m not being reasonable, and I’m not making sense, but I can’t help
“Mac, please try to concentrate, the doctor needs your help. Harm will
be here soon. But we have to help you, and the baby, now. Please
listen.” She’s crying now, I think I understand.
“What?….Ok… fine…..whatever’s best.” I stammer. “But Harm, where’s
“Harm’s Ok, Mac. There was a message on your machine. I went back for
some of Lizzie and Tommy’s things. Harm was sent to a carrier this
morning because of the storm. He tried to call but nobody was home. By
the time we got the message, he was back in the air. You have to be
strong for him and the baby. Listen to me Mac; he’ll be here soon. He
said he loves you. ”
“What?” I need to hear that again.
“You have to be strong Mac.” She repeats.
“No, the other part. What did he say?” I grip her hand.
“He said he loves you, he’ll be home soon.”
Harriet doesn’t understand, she just doesn’t understand.
My hand goes to the baby. “Your hear that sweetheart? Daddy loves us;
he’ll be home soon. I feel my entire body relax. I don’t remember
anything else, after another severe contraction.
I had planned to get a few hours sleep before driving back, but the
Admiral had a chopper waiting when I landed. I’m still in my flight
suit, and I left her Corvette in Pax River. She’ll probably kill me for
I took five minutes to check on my new son, he’s fine. I’m more worried
about her at the moment. They told me she’s been sleeping for hours.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to take the baby; he turned at the last
I move cautiously into the room and pull up a chair. I’ll just wait ‘til
she wakes up. The nurse said she had a real hard time.
The Marines have a very colorful description for the last thirty-six
hours. Charlie Foxtrot. I think this time, that depiction of potential
disaster may be a prelude to perfection.
I am just getting settled when she opens her eyes.
“Harm?” She doesn’t seem completely conscious.
“I’m here Sarah, just rest.” I take her hand and rub it soothingly.
“Did you mean it?”
I know what she means. “Yes, I meant it.”
“Me too. Hold me.” It was just too easy. Why did it take five years?
She’s almost asleep again. I slide down beside her, and wrap my arms
around her. I intend to stay awake, but I find myself drifting.
It’s light, when I wake up. I find a nurse glaring at me. She would have
made a wonderful drill sergeant. She has the look. I smile sheepishly
and start to move, but Sarah holds me in place. I shrug to the nurse to
indicate I have no choice.
“Mrs. Rabb, we have to check a few things. Captain, go visit your son.”
She orders, in a voice that accepts no nonsense.
“Son?” Mac looks puzzled. “They said it was a girl.”
“Well, he’s definitely not a girl,” the nurse replies, and shoos me from
the room, as she mumbles something about ‘sonogram nonsense’.
I wander to the nursery and look for him. He’s the only boy there today,
but he’s still sleeping.
I watch him sleep, then I go searching for a coffee machine, and the
Ten minutes later, I’m back with Sarah. Whatever they needed to do, I
decide they have had enough time.
Her eyes are closed, but they slide open, as I sit down and gather her
“A boy huh?” She asks.
“Yep six pounds, eight ounces, twenty-three inches long. The nurse said
four pounds were his legs.” I smile down at her. I feel inordinately
proud, even as I realize she has done all the work.
“Our Rabb clone?” she asks with a grin.
“I guess. What will we call him?” The comfort between us has completely
“After you, of course.” Her response is immediate.
“Oh no, not a third. I hate that.” Mine is as quick.
“How about if we reverse the names.” She suggests.
I consider that. “Ok, that will do.” I agree.
She looks at me a long time, and I see the moisture build in her eyes; I
know what she’s thinking. “We messed up again, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, I guess we did. Kinda dumb for two such smart people, huh?” I
admit, feeling foolish.
“We’ve never done anything the easy way, you know.” Her tears are
falling freely and so are mine.
“I know.” I pull her close, and we sit and cry for a little while,
before pulling back.
“I love you, Darling, with all my heart. I always have, and I’m sorry I
never was brave enough, or smart enough, to tell you. I didn’t
understand.” It’s lame but sincere.
“I know, I love you too, and I made the same mistake. Let’s don’t make
any more, and let’s don’t dwell on it. We’ll just go from here, all
right?” she suggests.
“It’s a deal.”
I’m kissing her deeply and distractedly, when I’m hit by the two small
hurricanes, we call our children. Lizzie clambers into her mothers lap,
and Tommy reaches up to be hoisted onto my lap. Just the opposite of
their normal preference.
Harriet stands in the door grinning. “They wouldn’t stay quiet any
longer, they’ve been up since 05:00.”
“Its ok, Harriet,” we both chime together. I almost don’t think this
could get more perfect, but it does.
The door opens again, to reveal the nurse, with one very unhappy infant
in her arms.
She smiles apologetically ‘He’s hungry and he’s letting the entire
nursery know it.
I grin down at Sarah and respond. “He may have my legs, but his appetite
is all his Mom’s.”