“I love you,” he said. “You’ll understand it one day.”
She laughed. She didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t as clear to her as it was to him. She could never understand how some people seemed so sure of matters of the heart.
He knew, though. He knew that even though they were to part ways soon, he would return to her, the pillar of strength. He would return, battle-scarred and broken, and she would nurse him back to life. She would stand over him and stare, her hand resting on his thumping chest and worry resting on her troubled brow. He would look up at her with dry, parched lips and she would raise a mason jar of smoke, hope, and poetry to his mouth. He would drink deeply, and as his head fell to the pillow, he would see the road behind him and the smoldering ruins in the distance. He would be assured that he was home, that his oasis had been with her, his muse, the whole time. Just as he thought, those many years ago when he thought those many years ago.
He was wrong about one thing, however. She never did understand. She was always a tad unsure that it would last. Until their hair turned gray and their eyes turned pale, she had her doubts.
© Jacob A. Smith and An Un-American Classic 2013.