Don't Hesitate

Don't Hesitate

A Story by Ashen Raine

Weekly Prompt Collection #2 [May 20, 2012]


I remember the day quite vividly. For one never forgets the day that they first felt love of this magnitude. It was a long time ago, now, it seems, when I was just fresh out of high school and applying for college; ready to take on the world. It was not entirely usual for a girl of my age to continue her education, but I was determined to get my degree and I'd be damned if anyone would tell me otherwise. There is only one man that would have had the ability to tell me otherwise.

His name was Roger and he and I had been friends for years. We had been friends since we were in diapers. I was always there for Roger and he was always there for me. But times were rough and the country was at war. Roger was a fit and able young man and, as such, he was strongly encouraged to sign up for the military. It really was an excellent opportunity, if you managed to make it back home, alive. As kids, we saw the tall men, all cleaned up in their uniforms and just shook our heads. We both decided that it was a terrible idea to enlist; certain death for the both of us. But times had changed. And our priorities had changed drastically from the time that we were only ten.

“Oh, Nancy,” he said as he walked up to me, looking striking as ever in that silly graduation cap and gown. His light brown hair was cut very short, as was the style at the time. His blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight of that warm summer afternoon. I had never looked at Roger as anything more than a dear friend and brother, but now, as I looked into those blue eyes and his dazzling smile, my pale face colored faintly. I nervously ran my fingers through my own blonde hair, sure that I looked a mess, compared to this beauty of a man. “Can you believe that we've made it this far, Nancy? 12 full years of schooling. And even more, now, for you!”

I was puzzled by his words, not because what he had said was particularly confusing, but because he had only said that there would be more schooling for me. I reached over and placed my hand on his forearm, raising my eyebrows slightly as I stared at him, “Roger, what do you mean by 'more schooling for me'? Aren't you planning on going on to get a degree, too?” I felt my heart beat faster in my chest; I attributed this to fear of what he was about to say, but I'm sure, now, that it was partially from the physical contact I had made with his sleeve.

“They've convinced me to enlist. When I come back home, I'll have school fully paid for. You know that my family can't afford to send me to college, Nancy,” he replied solemnly. I was sure that my heart stopped beating for a moment as soon as the words left his mouth. Roger, my Roger, was going overseas to war. Tears began to rise to my eyes, but I shoved them back down and, instead, forced a small smile on my face.

“Well, I'm sure it won't be that bad, right? No time at all and you'll be back home and in school. Before you even notice that you've been gone!” I said, trying to sound cheerful for him, but I was broken inside. I pictured him on the battlefield, all torn to bits, and my chest suddenly felt tight. I squeezed his arm, which my had was still gripping, and then let go. “Please excuse me. I... I left my graduation speech in the classroom.”

“Oh, okay,” Roger called behind my back. I was already back in the school, running for the girls' bathroom. I was hyperventilating as I made my way over there, my tears rolling down my cheek and messing up my light make-up. I ran inside and into the stall, locking the door behind me, hugging my chest, wracking with sobs. I knew, right then, that I loved him. I was madly in love with my best friend. But I could not tell him this. It would be a disaster to tell him right before he shipped out, torture, even. And, besides, I knew that he did not love me in return. There was no way; I was too ordinary, too academic.

After many minutes of sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, I pulled myself out of the stall and washed up the best I could, trying to make my face clean for the speech I'd be presenting to the rest of the class and our parents in only a few minutes. I made my way out to the school's field and took a deep breath, taking my seat among the many other students. We were not exactly a huge school, there were probably 150 in our graduating class, but that was pretty big for the area. The principal prattled on something about being proud of us and made a few announcements before calling me up there to present my valedictorian speech. I rose, like a zombie, from my chair and walked in an almost robotic fashion to the podium. When I got up there and saw the number of people I had to speak in front of, I didn't freeze, the reason I froze is because I met his gaze, in the front row. My eyes felt red and puffy, and like they were about to start leaking tears again, so I looked down at my papers and cleared my throat.

“Thank you all for coming here tonight,” I began, my voice shaking slightly. My speech was just as generic as any other. I thanked my family and friends for helping me get to where I was today. I thanked the teachers for assisting me and encouraging me to grow and learn. I honestly barely remember what my speech was about. All I can remember is about ten minutes of trying to avoid looking at Roger. The rest of the evening went by in a blur. We all received our diplomas and went on our separate ways. I didn't speak to Roger for a whole week; I didn't even leave my room for a week, solid. By the end of the week, my mother was fed up with my foolishness and ordered I go out. So I got up, showered and left the house. I didn't know where I was going, or why. I walked in a daze, feeling dead on the inside. When I finally came back to the real world, I realized I was on Roger's doorstep.

I looked up at the house I had become so familiar with and felt a deeper pang of regret; I hadn't spoken to him since graduation. I should have been trying to spend every moment available with him, but instead, I had wasted a whole week sitting in my bedroom, alone and depressed. I swallowed hard and reached up to knock on the door, but I never got a chance to. Just as I lifted my hand to knock on the door, it opened and Roger's face poked out. I froze, looking up at him, my heart cold as ice and pounding in my throat.

“Nancy! I have been worried about you. Called your house a couple times; your mom said you were sick with something. Seemed pretty bad if it kept you down for a week.” He smiled at me, obviously pleased that I was feeling better from whatever was causing me not to be able to even pick up the phone.

“Oh, yeah. Caught some sort of bug. Felt really out of sorts. But I'm back to normal, now. Thought I'd come say hi,” I replied lamely.

“I'm glad you did; today is my last day at home. If you hadn't come to say hi, I was gonna have to march over to your house and demand to see you, sick or not.” It was the knowledge that he would be leaving the next day that made me burst into tears, then, and rush to hug him. I wrapped my arms around his lean, muscular frame and buried my face into his chest, shaking violently with sobs.

“I don't want you to go,” I sobbed between gasps of breath. Roger wrapped his strong arms around my lean frame and gently pulled me into the house, leading me upstairs to his bedroom where we could talk without interruption or anyone overhearing us. He sat on his bed and motioned for me to sit next to him, his arm wrapped around my shoulders as I continued to sob.

“Oh, Nancy, I won't be gone long, remember?” He murmured, trying to make me feel better. I looked up at him, then, my eyes red and swollen from my tears, and I'm not sure what possessed me to do it, but I leaned up and kissed him. His lips against mine lit a sudden fire within my very core; it felt like fireworks exploding in my chest. It was my very first kiss and I could not have wished for a better one. What was surprising, was that he was kissing me back. We fell back onto the bed, arms and legs wrapped tightly against each other, holding as tightly as we could, as though the other would float away in a matter of moments as nothing more than a dream.

As we parted for air, I choked back a sob and looked up into his eyes, “I love you, Roger.”

“I love you, too, Nancy,” he whispered and kissed me again. We cried and kissed and embraced for what felt like hours. Heat built more and more with every kiss and before long, we had torn the clothes off of each other and were rolling in his sheets. Every touch was completely electric, every kiss filled with passion I didn't know could even exist. The pain that blossomed from our union quickly gave way to the most magical surge of pleasure. And just when I thought that it could get no better than what it already was, my mind exploded from my body and I could have sworn that I had found heaven. We laid, after, in a tangled heap of limbs and bed covers and I felt complete.

“I wish you had told me all of this sooner, Nancy... I never would have enlisted, if I knew you felt the same way I did,” Roger whispered sadly, kissing my forehead. My bliss faded and I curled up as close to him as I could, wishing that tomorrow would never come and I would never have to part with my beloved Roger.

But the next day did come. I had refused to leave Roger's side all night, content to let him hold me until the sun rose. I cried when he gathered up his things and packed them into the car that would take him to the airport so he could be transferred to the base where he would receive his training. We embraced and kissed one last time as I saw him off. He promised to write to me as soon as he was able and I promised to write back. But something deep within me told me that this would be the last time I would see my love.

I did not receive a letter from him for a little over a month, following our parting. But when I did finally receive a letter, I wrote back the same night. I paid extra for postage so it would arrive as fast as possible, it was very important that Roger receive my letter, because I had just learned that I was pregnant with his child. Roger's reply was quicker than the last, and filled with happiness, excitement and fear. He apologized for leaving me to deal with the pregnancy alone, since he was away. We went on this way for a few months. I was several months into my pregnancy when he sent another letter telling me very seriously that he was being shipped overseas; his training was over and the army needed him on the front. I begged him to find a way out of it, but there simply was no way. I received only two more letters; the first, just after he arrived on the front, detailing the horrors of war and reminding me that he loved me dearly. The final letter I received was not from my love, but about him. The army had sent me a letter, telling me that he had been killed in battle, they also contacted his parents, but he had listed me as the first person to contact in event of an emergency.

I wept for days, knowing that I would never see my dear Roger ever again. I wished only that I had told him sooner, but that is the price for hesitating with love; you may end up with only a fleeting moment together. Years have passed since then, and my daughter now plays in the yard of my parents' house with friends of her very own. I pray that she will never have to feel the pain and heartache that I did when she is a woman. I remind her every day, how much I love her. She is all that remains of my Roger, and I feel, sometimes, that when I tell her that I love her, that I am also reminding him, wherever he may be, that I still do and always will love him.

© 2012 Ashen Raine

Author's Note

Ashen Raine
This week's prompt was:

"Write a story or describe what happens when 'love hesitates'."

Reviews, comments and critiques are appreciated.

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I got tears in my eyes... This is such a touching story. Sad too how it's probably a true story for so many. It's very well written, and you can really feel the emotion going through the characters. The way she reacted when he told her he enlisted was probably what any other heartfull person would have done. You should be beyond proud of this piece, great work!

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


I got tears in my eyes... This is such a touching story. Sad too how it's probably a true story for so many. It's very well written, and you can really feel the emotion going through the characters. The way she reacted when he told her he enlisted was probably what any other heartfull person would have done. You should be beyond proud of this piece, great work!

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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1 Review
Added on May 22, 2012
Last Updated on May 22, 2012
Tags: Military, Army, Love, Hesitation, Loss, Death, Birth


Ashen Raine
Ashen Raine

Seattle, WA

I haven't used this site since I was 19, back in 2012! Wow! I am hoping to get back into writing again and maybe post some new musings! :) more..