September, 2 1945.
Somewhere in the Pacific, Joseph’s mind was in turmoil as he waited his turn at the phone. The Japanese had surrendered signalling the end of the bloody World War II. Thoughts of the horror encountered at the battlefield kept racing back; the bullets, the blood spilled, the dead bodies. And though he had tore his Allied troop badge in victory, his mind was filled with so much emptiness.
* * *
At home, his wife kept pacing nervously through their sitting room, her mind clouded with her husband’s arrival; an arrival that was once uncertain. She had missed him terribly; his feathery touches, his care, his protection, the sonority of his voice, his deep throaty laughter, his bubbly personality.
“Take care of yourself and our baby”, he had said admist a hurried goodbye kiss before he entered the plane that took him away. Two months after, she was wallowing in an ocean of guilt when she had a miscarriage.
The sound of the telephone shook her out of her reverie.
“Hello”, she said into the phone. The deep male voice that replied had her screaming, “Baby, is that you?”
“Yeah, how are you?” Joseph’s voice was cold, bereft of emotion.
“I.. I am fine. Where are you? You are coming back today right?”
“Yeah. How is..” For the first time, the reality of his wife’s miscarriage dawned on him as he held himself back from asking about their child that was never born. He furiously slammed the phone back. He was sure he wasn’t going to miss the war but he wasn’t sure if the world he was returning to held any promise for him.
* * *
By midnight, Grace who had slept off on the couch was awakened by a hand on her arm. Her eyes snapped open and Joseph was standing over her, a smile on his lean tanned face. The lines around his eyes and mouth coupled with the overgrown beards and scars of stitches gave his face a new maturity.
In a flash, she was in his arms, her loneliness, anxiety, fears were swept away by a flood of intense joy that seemed to fill every fiber of her being. She opened her mouth to talk but his lips swallowed hers, her words submerged by the ferocity of his desires. She tried pulling away from him to talk about how anxious she was that he was going to return in a casket, how she had resisted the urge to commit suicide after she lost their baby.
But Joseph wasn’t in the mood for words as he ripped his clothes off and pushed her down to the couch. When he got inside her, memories of him being out in the battlefield, running, shooting, evading the enemy’s bullets, came flooding back. His thrusts got faster, his breath hard as he approached climax, released and collapsed on her like a soldier that had just been shut in the head.