“Don’t go.”

“I have to. You know that I have to. It’s a war, and somebody needs to tell those flyboys where to drop the bombs. That’s my job; it’s who I am.”

“I don’t want you to go.”

“I know. I don’t want to go, either. But I have to. Besides, you couldn’t really love a coward, could you?”

“Staying here wouldn’t make you a coward.”

“Yes it would. It’d mean that I was afraid of leaving you.”

“Bill, I’m the one who is afraid. What if something happens to you? I can’t…”

“Hey now, this is me. I’m the navigator. I always find the way back home.”

“Bill, I’m serious. We just got married. I don’t want to be one of those…women. You don’t have to watch Evelyn cry. Every day, she’s in that office, tears just running down her face….I…I…”

“Peg, you won’t be one of those girls. Even if something happens…and it won’t…but say it does. You can go to Texas. My folks would take good care of you. Hell, go there now. You’re planning on stopping there on the way back home anyway. Just stay with them. You don’t have anything in Miami anyway…”

“Only my job, Bill. And my mother. She needs me, Bill. And Henry, too. And who’s going to take care of Paul? My whole life is there, Bill.”

“Why do you want to work, anyway? We’re married now. I’ll take care of you…”

“Bill, don’t. Not now. Please?”

“You’re right, I’m sorry. I just don’t understand it, is all. But we can talk about it when I get back. And then we can try for that baby, right?”

“Ha. Sure thing, Bill. Mama would love a grandbaby, wouldn’t she? And can’t you just see Henry’s eyes light up? I bet he’ll be the best grandpa a kid could ever want. Probably teach him how to wrestle alligators before he’s out of diapers.”

“Have him out on that damned reservation jibber-jabbering like one of the Mics before he even learns English.”

“Oh Bill, stop. You know how they love Da—Henry. He saved them, you know.”

“Yes, everyone knows how the great Henry Coppinger single-handedly saved the Mics from extinction.”

“Well, he did, you know.”

“I know, Peg. I’m just trying to get you to smile. You’re so pretty when you smile. Smile for me, Peg. The boat is getting ready to leave. I’ve got to go.”

“Sure thing, Bill. Kiss me, and then go. But come back as soon as you can. Promise me, Bill.”

“Anything for you, Peg.”

She stood there on the dock, and watched the boat until it had sailed out of sight. Then she sat and watched the sun sink into the sea. And then she cried all night long. The next morning, she got off of the hood of their car, got inside, and began the long drive back to Texas. She stayed in Texas with his parents for a week, but then went on back home to mama and Henry. That was December 1, 1942.

On December 6th, 1942, she got a telegram from the Army telling her that the plane was lost, all crew presumed killed in action.

On December 7th, 1942, She found out she was pregnant.



Photo by GiggleKid

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