As I sat at our table in the corner of the Baskin Robbins hearing her repeat the words I had never wanted to hear in my lifetime I felt a sense of emotional downpour. “Bobby, I am leaving. I am not leaving you or this relationship but we are moving back to the states.” What was she trying to imply not leaving me or this relationship? Did she not realize that by moving back to the states she was abandoning me…us. I hugged her with such passion hoping she would stay. I asked her to stay then quickly realized why that would not work out. As she walked away she turned and looked my way, “Querido, I will carry you in my heart forever.”
She walked away and never looked back.
My misery in life had begun. These last two years were amazing. I learned to love and I could not have asked for anyone other than her.
I took a few days off from duty to take a drive up to this Pasteur like field where I found some sense of solace within it. The thinly asparagus colored stalks embraced me. It was an embraced I desperately needed. The white billowy clouds appeared and within them I saw her. I traveled back to our first encounter and how I had already taken notice of her several months prior. I thought back to that day when their white Toyota Celica drove up to the West Gate and stopped to show their identifications. I could see her smile radiating from the back seat. She was beautiful, the sun setting behind her casting a soft shadow. I asked specifically to see her ID card so I could examine it with a fine tooth comb. I could not think of any other way to get her name. There was a small hesitation on my part when I saw her age but I did not care, I wanted to know every piece of her.
A few days after my first sight of her at the gate I saw her walking along in the Commissary. Fear struck me and left me paralyzed and my wish to speak to her was succumbed to my fear. The following week I caught a glimpse of her out on the Base’s high school football field. She was with a group of friends doing stadium runs. Even though she was covered in sweat she was still the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I sort of figured the only way to get to close to her with out stumbling on my own feet was to get onto that football field. I quickly rushed back to the barracks and changed into my PT uniform and headed back to the field. One lap turned into two and two turned into three and by the time I was finally able to allow my courage to come to fruition I had ran five laps. On the tail of the last lap I was running I locked eyes with hers and smiled. I melted upon seeing her smile back. The soul that had been necrotic for years prior was now revitalized.
As I stood behind her in line at the Baskin Robbins I took in her scent and marveled in it. It was a mixture of coolness and florals. It had a hint of sunflowers, my favorite flower. I was hooked. My hand shook as I handed her the money she had dropped. From that day on, I knew I wanted her by my side. We spent every moment we could together. Our dates took on a sense of a scavenger hunt. We had to meet in random places throughout Base. On my weekends off from watch I would take the train into Luxembourg City to see her even if was just for twenty minutes. The cost of the train ticket was minimal in comparison to our love.
The first afternoon I traveled into Luxembourg to surprise her, was the most memorable. I hid along the bus stop near her school waiting for her arrival. I could see her walking with some friends and could hear their conversations. “He is amazing Libby. He treats me like a princess and lets me talk about everything and anything. He listens, I have never had someone like that.” she said. I felt a sense of pride come from within me. This was my girl, my reason to wake up every morning. She was my sweet dreams. I walked around the bench and stood next to her. I took in her scent by the gulp-fulls. I hugged her and whispered “I have missed you.” She replied “I am here; I will always be within you.”
Our secret rendezvous were amazing. They had fire to them, they had passion, and yet we never crossed that intimate line of being sexual beings. I respected her age and refused to take her in that way. Our only chance at verbal communication when apart was the quick moments she could drop a coin into a payphone at the Gare while she waited for her next bus. I savored those calls. Her voice had this calming effect to it; it would put me at ease. I could have had a bad day and it would wash away any and all ill feelings.
Months had gone by but her love was near with each letter I received. I loved reading her words. She had a way with her words. She brought them to life. She gave them character. She gave them a plot. I remember I once told her she was an amazing writer in which she joked, “Well then, maybe I should take a compilation of my love letters to you and publish them in a book format.” “That would be amazing; the whole world can read about our love.” I told her. Laughter circled us.
About four months after she left, I was walking in a zombie like state when I accidentally hit the cart of the lady in front of me at the local grocery store. I had started to shop at the local grocery store because there were a few things I had grown to love such as the local Bitburger beer. The commissary on base did not carry it. The benefits of being twenty and stationed in Germany, the drinking age lower than back home. I awoke from my catatonic state. I apologized and went on my way. As I approached my car I saw the lady had parked two cars down and was smiling towards me. Here I was oblivious to the flirting of this woman. She walked over to me and we talked and exchanged numbers. I let a week go by before I tried to dial that seven digit number. I had a sense of adultery over come me. I was still in love with Madster. Friends pushed me to make the call and so I did. We met up at a local coffee house and got acquainted. “Hi, I am Lena.” she stated. I think my unsettling ness caused my laughter to erupt as I said “I know, you wrote your name on the receipt with your phone number.” She blushed. It had been some time since I had experienced laughter.
The coffee date ran its course and we agreed we would make plans to meet again. We left and promised to call each other later in the week. Four days later and the community phone in the barracks ran without end. I had message after message from different squad members to call Lena. I was having a hard time bringing myself to do it.
I wrote the last letter I would to Madster in it, I wrote how I was broken and that live seized when she walked away from me for the last time. I sealed it with love and dropped it off in the yellow postal box. “To Texas with love” was written on the back of the envelope.
The day after I called Lena and made plans to meet again. She was closer to my age so we were able to do a few more things I had not been able to do with Madster. We went to the local pubs and played darts while enjoying a nice chilled glass of beer. We were able to drive into towns on the weekends and sights see the many sites Deutschland had to offer.
As we sat on the top of a hill we had been hiking near Dusseldorf, I got on one knee and asked “Will you marry me?” in which she jumped with joy and responded “Ja.” On the drive back to Base a sense of remorse went through my body like a shockwave. Had I done something completely wrong? Immediately upon my return I spoke to Jake, one of my dearest friends and he told me it was the common jitters.
The wedding planning was on full force until I got my orders. Jake had already been gone almost three weeks and was out of reach. I had last heard he had been sent to Texas but with no exact location. I opened up the envelope which contained the papers which would change my world as I knew it. “Texas, Fort Sam Houston Base” was written in big bold black letters. I dropped the paper and sat down. I knew Fort Sam was in San Antonio and I knew Madster was living in this city. Was there the possibility of running into her? I called Lena and told her I needed to report back to the states for six months. She was understanding and said she would take the full reign on the planning and would see me when I returned for our wedding which was ten months away.
I got on that plane and my catatonic state quickly resumed.
I arrived in the barracks two days later. I settled in quickly and met a few friends. One guy specifically named Brian was really welcoming. He was from Texas himself, Dallas to be exact. “We Texans are the friendliest people on this planet.” he said with a Texan accent. “How about later this week I treat to a movie. We have a pretty nice theater a few miles up in the heart of Downtown. We can grab a bite to eat, drink some beer before we watch the film, how about it? Brian spoke through the midst of recent snuff mixture placement along his gum line.
Friday night arrived and I put on my favorite pair of jeans and a t-shirt Madster had given me for my birthday. Brian by this time had invited a few more fellows from the barracks so we hailed a cab and went downtown. There were a lot of pretty Senoritas as Brian and the other guys called them. A few of them gave flirtatious smiles our way and we reciprocated. After dinner we found we still had about an hour before movie start time so we walked along the Riverwalk. It was beautiful, the ambience of it.
A few of the guys had had a few much to drink unlike myself seeing as the legal age here was twenty-one. I took on the duty of being their caretaker. We arrived at the movies and a few of them wanted to skip concessions and they went off to secure the rest of us some seats. I made the journey to the concession stand with Brian by my side when all of a sudden some teenage girl who did not give any care to the world on where she was looking bumped right into me. I had been drenched with her drink.
I recognized the smell…I knew that smell from miles away. It could not be, San Antonio was too large of a city for us to randomly run into each other. My heart was beating faster than it did the first moment we shared at the ice cream parlor. I waited anxiously as she took her time to lift her head by then her voice had been clear.
I wrapped her up in my arms and I knew then I never wanted to let her go again.