Free Mail

Free Mail

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Free Mail

The most vital right is the right to love and be loved.

Emma Goldman

I couldn’t sleep last night. I lay there in my bed praying to hear from my husband, knowing he couldn’t call, but hoping for a letter. It seems like it’s been so long since the last one came. I opened my mailbox this morning and there it was—a letter marked “free mail.” My heart stopped.

It never ceases to amaze me how much those two little words can mean. Somehow, this letter arrived when I needed it most. I read it right there, standing next to the mailbox. It was written the day before he headed into Iraq from Kuwait, where he had been stationed for the past six weeks. He told me a little bit about what he’s been doing, and I tried to picture him in my mind. He shared his feelings about crossing the border, and I could feel those things, too. He told me how much he loved me and the kids, and how our letters were getting him through the days. He said he hoped I hadn’t been watching the news, but that he was sure that I had been. He told me he’d been well trained and not to worry about him, then said he knew I would anyway.

Toward the end of the letter, my tears began to fall. Then I read, “Stop crying now, and smile for me.” I smiled a big smile and laughed out loud. The next line: “There you go, that’s my girl. Your smile makes everything all better.” Again, I was reminded of how well he really knew me, and I was comforted, knowing that, even across the miles, he managed to remain so much a part of me. I closed my eyes and imagined him next to me. I remembered the joy of all our reunions from past deployments, and I could feel his arms around me.

Letters can’t fix everything, but I treasure them because I understand that “free mail” isn’t really free.

Jill Cottrell

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