By Anna



The Military; its servicemen…the cases…the victims…justice…HIS team…

From what he’d been told, those duties, things were what his life had been wrapped around for as long as most everyone could remember. But it wasn’t what he remembered; it wasn’t what he wanted. He longed for Shannon. The vibrant red
hair and easy smile, her gentle patience, sharp tongue when he needed to be put in his place, the love that shown in every glance and through every word. She had been the focus of his life since he’d set eyes on her that day at the train depot back home when he’d thought he’d be leaving for good.  From that moment, he’d known he had wanted only two things in his adult life: to be a Marine and to have that woman in his life.

And Kelly – how he needed to hear the playful laughter, the glee of his daughter at play or up to mischief – as her mother was more likely to say.  He missed the warm snuggles with his daughter while watching early morning cartoons and the simply joy they had found in being together after dinner, indulging in time for a movie or to play a game.  And those precious times he’d had Kelly with him as he worked in the basement, crafting something out of wood or giving her a simple lesson as she sat on his lap and leaned against his chest.  He could feel the warmth of her small body as she clung to him that day he had left. 

No one understood. The doctors and nurses had all looked at him with sympathy and concern. Amnesia they called it. That strange doctor – Ducky – he wished he could remember more. Maybe if he remembered more about that man and the others who had stared at him with both open and closed-off hurt, then just maybe his own pain and loss would ease. He didn’t see it happening though. This pain was too intense, too deep. It wasn’t even physical. And the ache could only be eased by the touch, the presence of his wife and daughter. Sitting in the dusky living room, he lifted the bottle to his lips, no longer feeling the burn as the bourbon slid down his throat.

Fifteen years ago. That’s how much time they said had passed. It felt like yesterday. It would always feel like yesterday. He knew some of them thought that he would get over it. He never wanted to forget the pain. He was positive that forgetting the pain meant that he’d forget his wife and daughter and he didn’t want to do that. Shannon had been his life. He’d loved her with everything that he was – body and soul. And Kelly – his sweet, precious little girl. Didn’t even get a chance to live, to see the joy in everything.

He choked back another sob. Marines didn’t cry! And above all else he was a marine. But for now he only wanted to grieve. Standing up, he grabbed the bag that was sitting near the couch. For now, he would leave the house where the
memories were oppressively painful. He’d take Mike Franks up on his offer and find a new life. He didn’t care about what he’d been before the explosion. Now he only wanted to be Shannon’s husband and Kelly’s father. His priorities had