In a little house on Venus Drive, she waited for him to come home from the war. She passed the time making airplanes and when he got home, he told all his friends that she was a better mechanic than anyone in town. His car ran because of her expertise.
Telling you that much, if you’re old enough, you can probably guess who they were.
They had the kind of love everyone hopes for. Two young people devoted to each other, growing older together.
He said to her, often, “I will never leave you. Never.”
And she would say, “You can’t promise that. What if you die?”
“Even if I die, if there’s a way, I will be here.”
“Me, too, Mister,” she would say, “me, too.”
She died. Got hit by a car while she was out riding her bike. He was at home, sensed nothing amiss. Even when the police finally came to his door, he smiled much longer than was appropriate, because he simply could not believe she would leave him.
He waited all evening for her to come back in the door, to tell him it was all a mistake.
She never came.
Every holiday, he waited for some sign.
“Dad,” his daughter would say, “open the present.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought I heard something,” he would lie. He never heard anything.
When his grandson was born, he thought, “This is it, if she comes, it will be now.” And he waited for anything he could consider her, a noise, an out of place shadow, the smell of her perfume. But nothing.
He met a woman at church and eventually it seemed to make sense that they would get married. Still, he didn’t want to offend his dead wife. “If you mind,” he would whisper, “just tell me.”
His son-in-law was kind of a jerk and he would say things like, “Maybe she’s too busy. Maybe she’s got better things to do. Maybe she’s forgotten all about you.”
But he felt sure, if she could come back, she would have. She never did.
Finally, after years, with his second wife by his side, he died.
It went like this. He had been semi-conscious for hours, not quite able to do much more than mumble. And then, he sat up, looked ahead of him, said plain as day, “Oh, so that’s why.” and started to sob.
And then, after a minute, he laid back down, and fell asleep. He never regained consciousness.