They used to jest and chuckle about the little wooden coffins. Called them 'widow boxes', said it was tighter and warmer inside than the wives they were leaving behind. I laughed with them, at the farewell parties, and I smiled at the runways boarding the big, frightening military jets, when he was in uniform, seeming bolder and more alive than he ever was at home or even in my arms. He belonged, he knew, I knew, and so the jokes were nothing but stones in the soil of that strange, unspoken comprehension. More plain, true, and honest than any word he ever spoke to me in life.
That's not to say I wasn't scared. The first tour, I was scared, more scared than I have ever been in my entire life, with one possible exception. The only other thing it brings me to fear is that Yaxley could turn out just like him, given that he was almost as much of a bastard by his own father as Nathaniel was all along. That fear, at least, is easily put aside every time I lay eyes on the sweet, poor thing... but all of that is another matter, I have things to attend to, so I shouldn't stay writing long. As for my Nathaniel... I guess there was never going to have been a peaceful rest for him. I knew it all along.
But that day when the letter came, nothing I could have thought would have prepared me.