When Jennifer received a letter in her mailbox whose return address stated “Sgt. Benjamin Arbor, USMC” she felt a simultaneous jolt of relief and anxiety surge through her body.
Jennifer had not heard from Benjamin for the previous 3 1/2 years. The last time Jennifer heard from Benjamin was 2 months after his deployment to Afghanistan, as he was adjusting to the new terrain. After his letter, news reports began covering his kidnapping by enemy forces.
Jennifer began to tear open the envelope, her mind exploring 1000 scenarios and wondering what he had to say, and what she had to tell him.
It is me, Benjamin. They told me that this letter would reach you. I am headed back to the U.S. Do you still live in Albuquerque? Send me a letter with your contact information:
Sgt. Benjamin Arbor
PO BOX 713
West Palm Beach, FL
In one moment, the entire 15 year history between Benjamin and Jennifer flooded Jennifer’s mind: Elementary school when they were both too shy to talk to each other, Becoming best friends in 8th grade, and their entire relationship between 8th grade and when Benjamin left for Basic Training. Jennifer had not thought about him or their relationship after the first, painful year when media stories kept circulating and the uncertainty of Benjamin’s condition began to slowly unravel Jennifer from the inside-out.
Jennifer was married now, to Sebastian Cumberbatch, a local politician in the Republican-dominated New Mexico State Legislature. Jennifer was 3 months pregnant with her first child with Sebastian, and within a few weeks would begin to show. Jennifer gripped her stomach as she sat down in her front drive-way and began to weep.