Someone to watch over her.

From the eye of a storm came a face in the cloud. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
From the eye of a storm came a face in the cloud. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

HE SAID HE WOULD never leave her.

But that was on a Saturday night in June, and the moon hung above them like a shard of glass.

And she said she loved him.

And he believed her.

He had no intentions of leaving her.

But he did.

Didn’t want to.

Had no choice.

He said he would come back to her.

But that was on a crisp November morning, and the clouds had stolen the sun, and frost lay heavy on the land around them.

She said she loved him.

And he believed her.

And he marched to the waiting plane with the rest of the troops.

He glanced over his shoulder.

She blew him a kiss.

He grinned.

That’s the moment she would always remember.

He grinned.

He tried hard to look like a man in his uniform.

He was only eighteen.

He looked more like he was twelve.

The door closed.

The plane vanished behind the clouds.

He was gone.

Where was he going anyway?


Where was Vietnam?

And why was he going?

The frost grew colder.

It seared her heart.

And she wanted to scream.

She didn’t know why.

He said he would always watch over her.

Those words came in a letter while the spring thawed the snow, and suddenly she didn’t feel so alone anymore.

She smiled.

For a moment, she thought she could smell his cologne in the breeze outside her door.

She laughed.

Love does foolish things, she thought.

Love would keep them together.


And forever.

She was sure of it.

He came home just like he said he would.

He came home in a box.

He came home beneath a flag.

She held his dog tags tightly.

She was holding him.

He would never leave her, he said.

And she believed him.

He would always watch over her, he said.

And she believed him.

She walked outside and heard thunder rumbling in the distance.

It sounded like drums.

Lightning flashed.


And sudden.

Much like a rifle shot.

She saw the lightning.

He never saw the bullet.

The clouds were boiling overhead, traces of white, the color of lace.

She thought they were angry.

They were growing darker by the moment.

She was wrong.

She looked up and realized he had not left her.

She looked up and knew he was watching over.


And forever.

She saw him if no one else did.

She found peace, and she found comfort.

So close and yet so far, she saw the face in the clouds.

He was looking down on her.

When storms, came he would be there.


And always.

She sat down, held the dog tags against her face, closed her eyes, and waited for the rains to wash her grief away.

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