Grin and Bear It

He rubbed at the face of the watch he’d given me before he left, maybe more out of nerves as he’d just had it buffed earlier. He glanced up with a wry, reserved smile every now and then as his aunts ribbed him teasingly. Being a Marine officer, they agreed, was probably the most noble thing a man could do and now it was time to find a nice girl to settle down—get a nest going. He laughed good-naturedly at that, turning my watch over in his hands.

The terminology of ‘being on leave’ wasn’t very PC to me. He could only really leave it behind under covers and closed doors. Even as I understood, respected and agreed with his reasoning, not being able to honestly celebrate him pulsed a painful reminder each time I censored myself.

If I felt it, I knew he had tenfold, and still he made no complaint. Once we’d decided, there was nothing left to discuss; he’d made up his mind that I was worth it every damn time. With relatives hugging, bidding good luck, he smiled and put that watch on my wrist all over again.

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