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Back in March I entered a writing competition called Words for the wounded. It is a charity working to support of our wounded servicemen, to help in their recovery.

I said that whatever the outcome, the piece would be a winner. Well, the results have been published, and unfortunately I didn’t win, neither was I shortlisted. But my entry fee went to a good cause, so it is a winner in that respect. I said I would post my entry on this blog, so here it is.

The subject of the competition was ‘Journey’, and this short piece, called Moving on, recounts a journey, not from one place to another, but … you read it and tell me what you think.

* * *

I waved goodbye, but you didn’t wave back. I blew you a kiss, but you didn’t see. I tried to explain; I wanted to tell you that it will be alright. And it is alright, now.

When you first saw me, I was in a bit of a mess, I know. I should have tidied myself, made myself a little more presentable. Things were a bit difficult.

In that room, I loved the feel of crisp, white sheets on my skin. So different to coarse, green blankets, a knock-up camp bed, and desert dust. And it was so peaceful, too. Just the gentle buzz of conversations: no shouting in fear, no screaming in pain, no explosion-shock crushing my ears.

I knew you were there. I was so happy when you said I was going to be a dad. I’m looking forward to that. We will be apart when he … I’m sure it’s he … arrives, but I’ll be just a thought away. Thank you for the kind words, the gentle touch to my face, the ‘I love you’, which I tried so hard to whisper back, and that kiss – your warm, soft lips, soothing on my forehead.

And then it was time to leave.

It was harder for you than it was for me. I knew it was for the best. And you were so brave, you sat and held my hand until it was time. I held on for as long as I could, I didn’t want to leave you, but I couldn’t resist any longer.

We would never have laughed and danced like we used to. No more deep and meaningful chats under clear, night skies, nor running barefoot in the sand. All that is gone.

As I left, I watched you holding my lifeless hand, your tears dripped from my fingers, your face pushed against my arm. So close. So far.

I waved goodbye, but you didn’t wave back …

* * *

(c) K Patrick Moody, 2014