I kiss your picture every night, hoping that you can feel me across this ocean and beneath these stars. My calendar is marked, crisscrossed with X’s, each bringing me closer to the end of May – written in permanent ink: ‘Going Home Today’. Each X bringing me closer to our door in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
You wouldn’t believe the things I’d do to feel your touch.
I’d watch ‘The Notebook’ until the dialogue is etched in my heart; I’d shovel snow in the wicked winter that I hate; and I’d tell your mother that she was right. I miss the sound of rain, the curses you yell at me, every mundane chore, and the moments that now mean so much more than they did before I left. I miss everything that I never missed because I never knew what I had until it was gone, and now I know I never want to lose it again when I return to Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
I call myself lucky, I call myself selfish and scared, and after fourteen months of war I’ll call myself whatever I want.
I do not kill for them; I do not kill for God; I kill because it brings me one step closer to you. And I want you to know that if I die, I died trying to get back to Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
I write this today because I don’t know if my fingers will be able to write tomorrow.
They may be missing; they may be broken; or they may just run out of words. There is no democracy in death – you cannot veto, vote, or abstain. It’s just a wheel that lands on some poor soul’s name, and if I’m chosen today then that’s the way it’s all meant to be.
Do not cry. Do not beg. Do not ask for me back. Because I am simply a name on a wheel, born and raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
And just know that I loved you then, I love you now, and I will love you even if I never see you again. And if this letter reaches you before I do, I want you to know that I am never coming back to Chagrin Falls, Ohio.