The paper smelled like the desert. Grains of sand fell out of the envelope when I took the letter out. Mark probably was on duty and that was his only time to write, I assumed.
I immediately noticed some of the words are illegible, smeared from getting wet. Was it raining? It began with “Dear Emily.” I pictured him saying my name out loud, pronouncing it as EH-MA-LEE, leaving him with a smile. He spelled Afghanistan without the “h.” He rambled about his bunk mate, Diaz, and how he was going home to meet his baby girl. I grinned at how Mark inserted the word “baby” using a caret between “his” and “girl.” It’s just like him to not want to leave a single detail in his stories, I thought.
He wasn’t sure when he’ll get to come back home. Tears ran down my face and I get confused with the new smears and the old smears. He wrote “I love you” at the end. I could tell he really meant it because the black ink was bold like he pressed on the ballpoint so hard, that it leaked through the paper.
I wondered whether to Skype him or email him. But I knew that the sooner I contact him, the sooner the sadness comes to both of us.
I took out my pen and paper, instead, wrote “Dear Mark,” and showed him how much I miss him.