Just minutes before the first round of gunfire rang in our ears, we were walking hand in hand, enjoying the entwined feeling of our fingers. My husband noticed a small coin stuck between the crevices of the cobblestone streets. We realized it was an old Japanese coin, but we couldn’t figure out where it came from, as the Japanese Occupation was overturned about 10 years ago. He picked it up and gave it to me as a small keepsake. I looked at him with such pride, placing my hand on his soft cheekbones as I prepared to tell him the news, until it happened: the first shot. We immediately ducked to the ground and started crawling to the nearest barrier we could find. The sound of bullets increased, and the smoke from the gunfire began to engulf the park. I could still hear him breathing heavily, unaware of his injury. I looked back and saw him faced down on the cobblestones, struggling to move. I ran back and turned him over. Immediately, I saw the line of blood soaking through his light blue button down shirt. I pressured my shaking hands to his chest, trying with every ounce of my strength to keep him here in this world, but I knew I was losing him. He stared at me with a look of confusion, but content, as if he didn’t mind dying. He grabbed my hands from his chest, brought them to his trembling lips and held them there before his grip became limp. I laid my face in his blood soaked shirt, not caring what happened to me anymore, not wanting anything to do with this unforgiving world.
I felt two strong hands grab my shoulders from behind. As he was lifting me up to my feet, I could hear the coin drop. “Let go of me!” I screamed. I tried to kick at whoever this person was, this monstrous person who was taking me away from the man I love. The soldier turned me around and said, “We have to go! The Rebels are here! It’s not safe!” I froze, staring at the long cut down his right eye, blood running down his face. He threw his arm over my shoulders, as we sprinted for shelter. I glanced back for a second as the body of my husband became smaller with each step I took. Tears ran down my face, knowing that image would be ingrained in me for the rest of my life.
Seven months later when the gunfire stopped, the bodies removed and buried, and the streaks of blood lining the cobblestone scrubbed clean, I went back. I looked around and all I saw was emptiness, broken memories, and resentment. What once was known as a lover’s playground became the first site of a civil war zone. I questioned my own presence here. What was I looking for? As I turned to walk away, I heard a small, metallic sound. I looked down and saw a piece of small brown metal. I recognized the design. I trembled to my knees and wiped away the debris. It was the coin he gave me. I picked it up, held it to my heart and started to cry. I just couldn’t believe I found it. I felt a soft hand grasp my shoulder, “What did you find?” he asked. “It’s the coin that he gave me.” I solemnly replied. He helped me up, smiled at me, and kissed me on the cheek. “You miss him don’t you?” He asked. “Everyday.” As I placed the coin in my pocket, he placed his hand on my swollen belly and told me, “He would be so proud of you and this miracle.” I looked into his brown, loving eyes, gently touching the long scar that ran down his right eyebrow, reminding us both that from despair comes hope, a new sense of life, a life worth living for.
*Please be gentle with the writing. Grammar was never my strong suit.* 😛