By Rhiannon Bird
Every week you were gone my steps slowed, every day you were gone the emptiness trickled in, every hour you were gone it was harder to breath. People told me that it would get easier as time passed but they played a trick on me, a cruel joke because it didn’t get easier. It just got harder. My steps dragged, my head hung low and my world turned grey. Colour ignored me and laughter avoided my presence.
We got that dreaded letter that read “Your son is missing in action,” Mum took it the hardest and Dad just sat there stock still and silent. People looked at me like I was a water balloon waiting to explode but I didn’t, I knew you’d come back. You had to come back; my little fire of hope still flickered and burned. And so I hoped and I waited. Through summer, autumn, winter, spring and back again, I waited.
Mum would say, “Things will get better.” But she was wrong because Dad just left one day and never came back. Mum stopped doing anything; she was just a shell of the woman she used to be. And me? I kept waiting.
The sky again filled with snowflakes and they fell slowly as I sat shivering on the front step. I don’t actually know what made me go out there to sit on the step that afternoon but I did. I had a feeling unlike any I’d had before, a bubbling excitement and I knew you were coming home, you had to be. As I sat shivering on the step, a figure walked down the road and I was sure it was you. My brother was finally coming home. So I got up to get a closer look just as a man driving down the road made a mistake. His hand on the wheel slipped and my body screamed in pain. I could taste metal, feel rubber and smell gasoline. My vision blurred and my last thought was that I missed you; I missed you by a few precious moments.
I am still waiting. Only now I hope that you don’t join me.