Month One Without Mano; the Sweet Soul of a Strong Soldier, Part 1

She describes it “like Christmas” when she receives a hand written letter on base.

I picture her gleaming hazel eyes brightened with curiosity as she unfolds the one piece of connectiveness she is allowed to keep between herself and her friends back home in Minneapolis.

I think of the MN shaped necklace she wore before she left and her little chihuahua, Roxy, she left behind.

My day is made when I receive my second letter in response.

Before I open my plain white envelope to read between the college ruled lines, I can hear her excitingly began to tell me how different life is out there; how it is like nothing she has ever seen, like nothing she has ever known.

She tells me how strong and amazing she feels; how much she has accomplished, how far she has already come in one short month.

I am proud of my soldier.

There isn’t one day that goes by, one run that I don’t finish that I don’t think about her brave beautiful soul.

The one that makes me dig deep, never want give up and encourages me to fight through every pain.

Her strength makes mine seem weak. Even when she is one the sidelines looking in.

She tells me she is craving popcorn and sugar. It makes me want to break the rules, send her the largest most beautiful tin of her favorite Candyland goodies, just to show her we are thinking of her and her famous sweet tooth.

Before i fold her folded letter back into my horribly teared envelop, I think about how great it will be to see her in December; hug her and rant her ears off about all my races and how excited I am for our future trip to Boston.

Sometimes hand written letters are better than anything else in the world.

I know she loves and appreciates my hello kitty stickers, barely legible words and my colorful stationary. It warms my heart to know her smile won’t fade as long as I keep my stationary, stamps and most importantly, stories, with me wherever I go.

I will continue to write her my strangest most stupidest stories and read her words with a smile and a feeling of a simple, cherished friendship.

One that is still being strongly shaped miles and miles apart.

I consider the mailbox across the street nothing short of a blessing.

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