Because I love you
Robert and Rebecca had everything they wanted and needed when they were together but holding hands, kissing and making love was more often a longing than a shared experience owing to Robert’s career in the Army. Real love is a natural progression that cannot be forced or answered in a prayer but occasionally it blossoms faster than the trees in spring. Robert knew that his heart belonged to Rebecca during a weekend at a cottage in the Lake District that he had booked to celebrate their first year together. It had rained every day and apart from the occasional saturated walk where their hands never parted, they remained inside the cottage where a roaring log fire provided more warmth. Rebecca had never loved so deeply and she wanted the snow to fall like it had never fallen before so that she could have more time in a state of heightened enlightenment where her heart shone like an internal star.
Another year had passed and the two of them became closer even though they had spent most of the year apart. Rebecca had two more agonising days to wait until Robert landed on British soil again after a spell of three months in a very unsettled region of Afghanistan. Her suitcase was already packed at Robert’s request but she had no idea where they were going or doing at the weekend.
Robert loved surprising Rebecca as much as he loved her. He couldn’t even begin to describe the depth of his love to friends and family but he often tried. She was more satisfying than the tastiest meal and more relaxing than the most comfortable bed were just a couple of his comparisons where words always fell short of how he really felt. The numbers on the calendar increased and the closer they got to the 24th which was to be the day of his departure, the hours of each day seemed to double. Every day Robert tried to think of a way to give up on the army so that he could spend all of his time with Rebecca especially after his planned proposal in four days’ time at a castle in Inverness.
Robert had told a little white lie about his time of arrival and in doing so had bought himself about four hours. The extra time was necessary so that he could take a taxi to Bond Street and purchase an extravagant engagement ring. He was too young and naïve to realise that a ring from a market stall in Kabul would have brought about the same reaction of heart-warming joy.
Robert proposed as planned on a balcony overlooking a loch whilst enjoying afternoon tea. Rebecca’s smile was equal to that of a new mother clutching a baby to her chest. She wanted to pause this moment with an imaginary remote and then throw the device into the loch. Today was the happiest day of her life but in two weeks’ time she would be alone once more. Why did Robert have to be in the army? Why do we live in a world where there is anger, hatred and greed that requires people like Robert to balance the peace? These were two of the many unspoken questions that filled Rebecca’s mind on a daily basis.
A date for a wedding which allowed for ten months of planning was set before Robert returned to Afghanistan where he expected to remain for three months before seeing Rebecca again.
As the plane lifted off the ground Robert prayed for a miracle so that he could leave the army and start a new life as a family man. So many young men sign up without really knowing or thinking about what the future might have in store for them. Army life was fine until love came along and nobody can explain or understand the power of love until it takes charge of your soul and turns two people into one. Being apart was unbearable and Robert grieved like the bereaved.
Just three days after re-joining his regiment, Robert and five of his closest colleagues were hit by a massive unexpected explosion on a quiet dusty road. Robert was the only survivor and his prayer had almost been answered.
His army days were over but opening his eyes for the first time in weeks after endless hours of surgery and unconsciousness was too disturbing for any living person to endure. Rebecca was there but his legs were gone as was his right arm and his genitals had also been claimed by the blast. Rebecca despaired with the volatile world that they were part of. Soldiers wouldn’t be needed if everybody lived by the rules of the Ten Commandments. Love, respect, consideration and appreciation would mean a brighter future for our children and their children. Rebecca asked the same questions to a silent God. When are you going to intervene and cure your world of hatred, jealousy and greed?
Rebecca held Roberts remaining hand and told him that she loved him and that she still expected them to get married. All Robert could manage was a tear from each eye. He wanted to tell her that his life was over but the devil would not grant him permission to speak. All Robert could envisage was a future of self-loathing and pity.
A year later than expected, Robert and Rebecca did get married. Robert had been given two artificial legs and a new arm but he was still unable to feel like a man and show his love as nature had intended. Words of love and encouragement from Rebecca continued as the months passed but could not mask the pity within and Robert sensed it. He would not be able to father a child and evolve in the way his father had once described. “When you become a father it completes you and your eyes will truly open and look back at the selfish boy that once was. You will be the person that you always wanted to be. Unconditional love is pure and the reason for our existence.” Robert couldn’t escape from his father’s words especially the word “unconditionally” because he didn’t want to be loved unconditionally. He wasn’t a child but felt as helpless as a crawling baby. Robert wanted to shower Rebecca with love and live the life that should have been. Time had stood still even though the world had not. Robert knew what he had to do and he produced a genuine smile that he thought only belonged in the past.
Robert took out his notebook and began to write…
My dearest darling Rebecca, I cannot continue living a selfish life and expect you to miss out on children and the life that you had planned. Please promise me that you will find a man who will make a good father and love you as much as I do. The only way I am ever going to be content and happy is by letting you go. A wise man once said that if you love someone then let them go and I used to wonder what the hell he meant by that but now I know. I will always be there for you and do hope that you will always remain in my life so I can see you glow again- A single tear dropped on to the page as Robert wrote the last four words… because I love you.