They were outside, fighting.
It was well past dusk, but the country stars
lit up the night
enough for him to see bright tears streak down
her pale moon of a face,
enough for her to see the weight
of unspeakable remorse tightly held in his shoulders.
They were outside her house, fighting.
He ought to have been there for supper
with her family.
He said he would be there
then canceled, last minute. Base called, he said.
I have to leave, he said. She said okay
and squeezed him tightly in one more hug that said goodbye.
They were in the dark, fighting
because he didn’t leave like he said
he had to, choosing instead
to spend his scant time with another. He ditched
dinner with her family and he got caught –
they always get caught, what does it matter how?
Choices, like affection, cannot be unmade or unchosen.
He drove over to make it right, to apologize.
She yelled at him,
though she never yelled at him,
and he listened without argument or excuses
which was for him a rarity, to listen quietly.
He may have cried too.
She forgave his flippant indiscretion
because it wasn’t in her to hold tight
to the anger and hurt that she felt.
Or to the love she had felt.
She let all of it go: anger, hurt, love,
but she forgave him
too, the letting go of love merely a consequence
of some remnant of logic left in her.