The ticking of the clock drowned out the faint sound of the TV coming from the small living room. It seemed an eternity had passed when the clock struck noon. Annabelle rose from her chair, crossed the kitchen and gingerly placed her cup in the sink. She turned towards the door to see little Joey already waiting for her. She took his little hand in hers and together they walked outside.
She looked around the base and watched as the other women exited their units, all staring up the street in anticipation. The air sparkled deceptively with the jovial sounds of children playing and laughing while the tension in the women rose.
The Army mail truck finally came around the bend as Annabelle counted back through the 79 days since she last heard from her husband. Silence filled the air as the children stopped playing to return their mothers. There were nine units the truck could stop at before it reached hers. She watched as some of the women shrieked with excitement, and others hung their heads returning to their homes empty-handed.
“Oww, mommy you’re hurting me”, Joey whined as the truck drove by her mailbox without stopping. She hadn’t noticed how hard she had been squeezing her little boy’s hand. Releasing him, she muttered an apology. Joey returned silently to his cartoons as she stood alone on the street, absentmindedly rubbing her growing belly, watching the truck slowly disappear around the corner.