She dresses carefully, indulges in one last spritz of perfume, and looks into the mirror with a critic's eye.
Will he still think I am pretty?
Will he still love me?
The answers come in the crush... his arms wrapped around her, after being away so long... tear-stained faces held in the others hands while eyes meet... home at last. He pulls her close again, and spins her around... she, the unsung hero.
She, who put on a smile and waved goodbye, so many months ago... then wrapped her own arms around their children, making promises she doesn't have the power to keep. She gives them everything she has... encouragement, energy, love... to fill the void until he comes home, and so often has nothing left for herself.
She is the one that holds a well of tears just behind her smile, that refuses your offer of taking the kids for a few hours... because to be alone is to have time to let the fears to slip in. To have them away at school is far too long as it is... their touch, the only thing that is truly comforting.
She, who chooses the comfort of the couch over the lonliness of the bed that stretches into emptiness... that is far too quiet. Unless she is lying across it weeping tears that make her wonder Can I ever stop?
She writes love letters and waits by the mailbox for one in return. Her breath catches every time the phone rings... hoping that it might be him. And when it is, she lets the untruths slip from her mouth... We are okay. Everything is fine.
She sits in the unknowing... waiting with hopes wrapped up in prayers, so proud of what he gives. And she keeps wiping away tears, keeps trying to muster up a smile and an I'm doing just fine, keeps praying for her soldier... because it is her part. She does what she does in service to her country... so he can serve his. To make his job easier, to lift burdens from his heart. It is the least she can do... and the most.
They are two, serving their country with honor and pride.
The soldier arrives home in glory... she is the unsung hero.
And she would have it no other way...