Dearest Queen Tuya,
It is with a heavy hand that I pen this letter to you. I know it has been too long since you last heard from me, I wish it did not have to be that way. Things have spiraled out of control since you last heard from me. My unit has been moved four times over the span of six months. Gunshots are what I wake up to, screams are what I sleep with. This is not how I imagined it would be, this was not my plan. Before I left you made me promise that I would come back to you. You said you would never forgive me if I was to ever leave you behind. I promised just as you instructed, but we both knew those were worthless words said by a couple of kids who knew nothing of the world. I was supposed to save the world without wearing a mask and a Cape. At last, I am the one in need of saving. I still remember what you said to me before I left for my first deployment, “I don’t need you to come back a hero, I just need you to come back”. I did come back. I came back a broken man. All those nights I woke you up because of the nightmares that tormented me. Waking up drowning in sweat, yelling out loud during my sleep. Waking up to see you crying on the kitchen table hurt more than any gunshot wound. I was unrecognizable to you. I was not the same man that left. I was always on the edge, walking a fine line of insanity and reality. Voices in my head kept me imagining myself on the battlefield, dead bodies everywhere, including those of whom I once called my brothers. You helped me heal.
I want to hold your hand again. I miss the little things Tuya. I miss how you would make that cute sound when you laughed. I miss watching the stars with you at night, giving them names and watching them disappear. I miss making breakfast with you, dancing in the kitchen while jazz is playing in the background. I miss watching you walk back from the garden while I wait for you on the porch. You walked so majestically, like a goddess so graceful because you did not want to hurt mother earth in your words. The last time I watched you walked back from the garden, you were in all white. You had your hair band on that looked like a tiara, the arms of your dress were floating with the breeze. I began tearing up the closer you were, I was about to break the news to you that I was being deployed again. You looked so beautiful, glowing in the sun like it revolved around you. You began crying when I told you the news, you were so crushed. I tried to console you, but I cried uncontrollably with you. I never told you this before, but when they called to inform me about my deployment. They informed me that the chances of returning would be slim to none. I could not stomach telling you that, I did not have the courage. Yet I still promised you I would return. Please forgive me Tuya, please forgive me.
I can not come back to you Tuya. Not like this. What I have seen, no person should ever have to. My platoon drives by dead bodies on the daily. Everyone and anyone are a threat to us, as we are to them. Even the children in these streets can not be trusted. Civilian casualties have become a normality. We have lost 20 soldiers in a span of three weeks. All together I am afraid to list the number we have lost in the two years I have been back. My letters could not be sent since we kept changing locations for safety reasons. It is with great tragedy that this will be the last letter you ever receive of me. I am writing my obituary already as all of my brothers know this will be our last fight. We will be conducting a mission that requires us to ambush a safe house. Intel tells us that it is full of traps, explosives and suicide bombers. We are already dead. Truthfully, I died when I left you. When you waved at me goodbye, I knew I would never see you again. I knew I would never see our plans come together. I knew our life would never bloom like our garden flowers.
Before my death, I must ask for a favor. Selfish of me to ask anything more of you, after all you have endured. But my beautiful Tuya, I must still ask.
I ask with all my love Tuya, that you live your life. That is my last request.
Tuya please move on with your life. I know you do not want to hear that from me, but my time is limited. There is no point in holding out hope, I have already accepted my fate. Please Tuya live the life we always wanted to live. Find a husband who will do what I was never there to do. Have a family, you deserve it. You will make a beautiful mother; those kids will love you eternally just like I always will. I did not have everything I wanted from this life, but I had you. The memories we made will follow me to the grave. Please do not weep for me, weep for the life we never made. That is my ultimate regret, not giving you the life, you deserved. I left to fight for my country and pride. I never had the chance to fight for us. I do not believe in what I am fighting for, I vented that to you countless times in bed. Human beings should be better than this, we should be beyond bloodshed. I keep telling myself I am fighting for you and your freedom. You are worth my life to me.
I constantly pretend we live like the movies do. When the bombs, gunshots and cries keep me awake, I think of the life we never had. I dream of us with our four kids, two girls and two boys. Just like a movie script would have it.
We fight over what to name them, but in the end, I will let you win. You are the best mother in the world, you nurture our kids like no other. You spread love in the house, you teach me how to be patient with the kids. You help me fight my PTSD from the war, you heal my scars and love me unconditionally. You are gentle with me, even at my worse. You teach our kids what it is to be a good human in a planet full of so much evil. We finally get that ranch that we always wanted. You fill them with all the animals you have always wanted. You always loved every animal you came across. The kids help with the ranch when they do not have school, it has become a family commitment. It brings us closer together. The kids get older and start heading off to college. You tell them to take all the life skills you taught them and not to stray away from them. You and I are alone in the house again. We relearn how to be in the house by ourselves again. But as long as we have each other, we are fine. I will be there for you whenever you need me. In your sick days, I will heal you like you healed me. In your angry days, I will be your therapist. In your sad days, I will be your shoulder to cry on. When our kids graduate from college and get married, they will come back for Sunday dinners. We will have our grandkids running everywhere. We will cherish them, love them just like we love each other. I will hold your hand when we take our walks to the garden to stretch our old bones. I will help you with your medications. Our kids will always find us in our chairs on the porch. I will tell you how beautiful you look even in our ancient days. I will look at you the same as I did when we were seventeen. I will kiss you just like I did when we were in our twenties. Our kids will bury us next to each other. We will be forever linked in life and death. I will never leave your sight.
Please Tuya, let us live like the movies do one last time. After that, I will not mind when it is over.
This is the life I wanted for us Queen Tuya. Now as the tears drop on this letter, I want to tell you go live that life Tuya. Go be the woman I always wanted you to be for me. Go show the world how beautiful you are inside and out. I love you to the moon and back. May we find each other in the afterlife. Maybe then our movie can become true.