______'s day started out normal and all. Just a casual 1965 day at the cafe she worked at. Though she was only 16, she was allowed to become a waitress in order to help out her family. With the Vietnam war going on, her mother had lost her job at the factory to be able to help other women gather up scraps for machines the army used.
_______ didn't understand it very much, but she knew that the money stopped coming into her family, so she had to do something. And that was how she landed at the cafe. It wasn't a very busy day, just a few regulars and some tourists. That was, until the boy walked in.
He was clad in green, the green that the army men wore. He didn't look too old, only about 18 or so. ______ put on a great big smile, fluffed up her (f/c) bow in her hair and sauntered over to the booth he resided in.
"Hello sir! How may I help you today?" She whipped out her pad of paper and a pen to write down his order. His deep blue eyes glittered underneath his glasses as he turned toward her. She gasped silently. He. Was. GORGEOUS!
"Ah, yes I would like special please. Eggs sunny side up." He whispered quietly. ______ wrote down his order quickly.
"Alrighty, that's the special, sunny side up on your eggs! Anything else I can get you?" She smiled. He shrugged, blushing slightly. She giggled at his shy nature and turned to walk away when he spoke up.
"Actually, would you mind sitting down for a while and talking to me? I'm not feeling to good." _______ looked at the clock and turned back to shoot him another smile.
"I get off in an hour, my good sir. I have the perfect place we can go to talk." She went back to the kitchen to give the chef the order and spent the rest of her shift sighing and day dreaming about the dreamy soldier that wanted to hang out with her.
The clock struck 2 and ______ tossed off her apron and grabbed the soldiers arm. "Alright, let's go!" She cried, tugging him out of the cafe. "So mister soldier, do you have a name? Or do I have to call you sir all the time like the other tight-wad men in the army?" She laughed as she led him to her secret thinking spot.
"Oh my apologies miss. My name is Private Alfred Jones. It is a pleasure to meet you Ms.....?"
"______ ______. Ah, here we are!" She waved her hands out in front of them both, present to Alfred a quiet, empty pier. "Come sit down over here and let your feet dangle. I come here to think." She took him over to the edge and plopped right on down. He sat awkwardly next to her, sitting a good distance away.
They talked about a whole bunch of things, how Alfred lost his parents a while ago and how his birthday had just passed, turning him 18 and eligible to join the army in the Vietnam war.
"That's sad about your parents, Alfred. I never knew my dad. He left my mother before I was born." _______ sighed. "But that's no biggy. You can't miss someone you never met!" She saw Alfred smile a little and clapped her hands. "I did it! I made you smile!" That caused Alfred to smile bigger.
"So, _______," Alfred said after a pause of silence, "I bet you have a boyfriend, huh?" _______ smiled, but shook her head.
"No. None of the boys at school are really appealing to me. They are so bland and boring and all the same." Alfred closed his eyes, as if to think about something.
"So, as you can very well see, I am going off to war soon. Since both my parents died and I have no other relatives, I don't have anyone to send letters to while I am away. Would you mind if I sent one back here to you?" _______ thought about it, then nodded cheerfully.
"Of course you can! I would love to receive letters from a brave man fighting in the war!" She gave him a quick, awkward side hug, then resumed talking about other things.
Soon enough, it was time for Alfred to leave. ______ gave him her address so he knew where to send his letters to.
"Don't forget me!" She called out, running behind the army truck as Alfred disappeared into the late afternoon sun. She stood there on the quiet street for a little while longer, feeling a slight pain in her heart. She hadn't met anyone quite like Alfred and it fascinated her. She put a hand to her heart and headed home.
~Several weeks later~
"_______! You have a letter in the mail! Says it's from California!" _______ popped up from her magazine and rushed downstairs to snatch the envelope her mother was holding. Her mother raised an eyebrow at her daughter's behavior. "It seems you have been expecting this letter. Who is it from?" (e/c) eyes shining, _______ tore into the letter, eagerly reading it's contents.
"Just from a boy I met a while back. He is going to be shipping out to Vietnam soon, as it says in the letter."
"A soldier? But dear, that means that he is at least 18, and that is way to old for you!" ______ rolled her eyes and turned to go back upstairs.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Once back in her room, she scanned over the letter again, noting every little detail.
I am still happy that you are allowing me to send you letters. Boot camp is brutal and it makes me wonder if I made the right decision to join the army. No matter, if it means keeping my country safe, and you of course, then I would gladly go through this training. We have to be up by 4 every morning and don't get to go back to sleep until midnight. It is a horror to behold how ragged some of these men have already become. We are being deployed over to Vietnam soon. I hope you are doing well and I hope we get to sit on that pier again some day.
Private Alfred Jones
_______ hugged the letter to her chest, then went over to her desk to write back to him.
~A couple months pass~
Alfred and _______ exchanged letters for several months after the first one. People ridiculed _______ for even talking to someone that was not her age, but she didn't care. She was falling in love with the soldier Alfred Jones. He told her funny stories of what was going on with his group, which entertained her to no end. She became distracted, waiting for his letters. Her performance in her school's band as the lead piccolo began to dwindle as her mind thought of one person.
In his later letters, Alfred confessed that he was starting to feel the same thing ______ was.
Soon, when he actually began fighting, he told her all of the fears he had. He was scared he would die, or one of his comrades would die. He didn't want to lose this war for the sake of ______'s well being. He also mentioned that he still thinks of that day on the pier when they first met. He thinks of that time especially when it gets rough over in the war.
I close my eyes and I see your pretty smile and that helps me get through it all. Don't worry, but I won't be able to write for a while. I have a big mission coming up and we are allowed no time to write.
_______ worried about that last letter, but she put that feeling aside. She knew that he would be coming home soon.
~More weeks pass~
_______ was sitting at home when her mother called her down, saying she had another letter. She raced down the stairs, excited to read about Alfred's mission. She was disappointed to see that the letter was not from him, but disappointment turned to pure joy when she read it over.
Dear Ms. _______,
We are writing to inform you that Private Alfred F. Jones will be returning home soon. We hope that you are doing well and bid you a good evening.
U.S. Army Commander Wright
______ was so happy, she shed tears. Her mother warned her, that though he was coming home she shouldn't be with him. ______ didn't care about anything except that the love of her life was coming home.
~Later, on Friday of the same week~
_____ was sitting with her band in the bleachers at the high school football game. It was required that the band come along and play some music and march to pump up the football team. Personally, ______ thought it was a drag. She would rather be at home, planning the surprise party for Alfred when he came back from the war. The usual prayer was said and the National Anthem was played by her band. A man walked out onto the middle of the field with a paper in his left hand and a microphone in his right.
"Ladies and gentlemen, if you would bow your heads for a list of local Vietnam dead." _______ followed suit with the rest of the crowd, bowing her head slightly so that she could still see the man. A few names were read off, none really catching her attention.
"Justin Smith, Alfred Jones...."
_______'s head instantly shot up. No way that was true! She must have heard wrong. Her heart fluttered around in her chest. The man repeated the names and his was said again. She knew. She knew that it wasn't just a trick of the ears. Tears began to pour from her eyes and she ran from her spot. She stopped when she was under the stands, and fell to her knees. She wailed with pain and sorrow, all alone under the bleachers where the people stood cheering for the game which had started. Her (f/c) bow fell from her (h/c) hair onto the ground. It was the same bow she had been wearing the day she first met Alfred. Sobs escaped her mouth as she remembered the pier and how they had grown to love each other through their letters. It was so painful, to know that she would never see that blue-eyed, blonde haired boy again. She even remembered how he had a funny cowlick, but never mentioned it.
About a day later, she got another letter. It was the same as the one before, except it had the words 'K.I.A.'and 'We are so sorry for your loss.' _______ tossed the letter away and resumed her depression. She would reread the letter he had sent her, her own tears staining the pages and sometimes even smearing the words a little. Such pain that she had never imagined gripped her heart and refused to let go.
She cried. She then decided that she would never love again. Everyone had told her that she was too young for him and that she shouldn't wait for the love of a traveling soldier.
As she grew up, her love for the lost soldier never dwindled. She continued to wait for the day when she would finally be reunited with Alfred again.