The War

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Winter to Spring {III}

“He’s a nice boy, Camilla,” my mother said while scrubbing the floors. She always insisted on cleaning the house at the beginning of every year, and this year, she tricked me into joining her.

"I’m not saying he’s not nice,” I remarked while cleaning the windows.

“So then what’s the issue, mija? I saw you two together last week at the party...”


“And I don’t understand why you are officially dating,” she fussed and scrubbed the floors harder.

“You’re talking about him like he isn’t in right upstairs,” I whisper-shouted at her. Dominic was staying at our house for a week or two, so the constant conversation with my mother was about our relationship

“All I’m saying is that maybe you should consider being with him and settling down,” she shrugged.

“In case you’ve forgotten, I’m only nineteen. The last thing I want to do is settle down,” I tell her.

“All this traveling and roaming around the world,” she said as I rolled my eyes, “I worry about you, mija.”

I looked outside as I considered my mother’s stance. The sun was brightly reflected on the crisp white snow, and fluffy clouds dotted the sky.

“You have nothing to worry about, Mamá,” I assuaged her. I was staring out the window when an idea for a new poem crashed over me like a wave -

In the sunlight, the snowflakes sparkled like fallen stars...

I dropped the rag I was using to clean the windows and raced to my room to grab my journal.

“Camila? ¿A dónde vas, mija?” |Where are you going?|

“Writing!” I shouted back at her as ideas flooded my brain. Once I reached my room, I grabbed my journal and began to write.

In the sunlight, the snowflakes sparkled like fallen stars

They were beautiful, and they were cold

Delicate and strong, all in the same breath...

My fingers drummed against the floor as I read and reread each line, waiting for more inspiration.

But in the sunlight, the snowflakes were dying -

That’s morbid, I thought to myself.

Their crystal edges were softening,

Their distinct patterns melting into a puddle...

My pen hovered over the paper, waiting for the last lines.

And in the sunlight,

the snowflakes disappeared,

the icy diamonds turning into a crystal puddle.

I applaud myself for the poem nestled in my journal and lay back on the floor.

My thoughts wandered to Dominic as I stared up at my ceiling.

He is a nice boy...

But there’s no way we’d work together.

A knock at the door disrupted my thoughts, and I turned to see Dominic.

Speak of the devil, I think and laugh to myself.

“Were you writing?” he says by way of greeting.

“Just thinking,” I replied and sat up.

“I was thinking too,” he said and sat on the floor next to me. There was a slight shadow of a beard on his face, and his hair was rumpled by sleep.


“Us,” he answered and looked out the window.

I moved to sit in front of him and blocked his view of the window. “Us?” I repeated and waited for further explanation.

“You, actually,” he admitted but never looked my way.

“My favorite subject,” I joked.

Dominic chuckled and ran a hand through his hair.

“Yea...” he started, but didn’t continue.

“So you were thinking about me?” I pressed him for an explanation.

“I was,” he admitted with a lopsided smile but didn’t look up.

“I’m flattered.”

“I can’t stop thinking about you,” he confessed and finally looked at me.

“Thinking about me as in you’re plotting my murder, or like you want to start dating?” I laughed and ran a hand through my dark waves.

Dominic watched me for an instant and then cleared his throat and asked, ”Do you want to start dating?”

The deep, intense look in his eyes put butterflies in my stomach.


“Are you being serious? Because I swear if you’re messing with me -”

“I’m not messing with you!” I laughed.

Dominic’s arms were around me in an instant, and he squeezed me tightly.

“You have no idea how happy you’ve made me right now,” he whispered to me.

Maybe it was how close he was to me, or maybe it was just him, but there were a million butterflies in my stomach and for the life of me, I just could not stop smiling.


{Four months later}

I checked my reflection in the hallway mirror for the 65th time today. And for the 65th time today, I ran a hand through my wavy hair. New freckles dotted my face and shoulders, my hair had gotten longer and lighter, and my golden skin was much darker than the last time Dominic was here.

He’s not going to recognize me, I worried as I straightened my sundress once again.

My best friend, Delilah, stepped into the mirror beside me. Placing her hands on my shoulders, she assured me, “You have nothing to worry about.”

“What if he doesn’t like me anymore?” I asked her the same question I had been asking myself since he told me he was coming.

“He wouldn’t come all this way if he wasn’t madly in love with you,” she said while fixing my hair.

Dominic had been stationed in Rome for the last four months and he was finally coming to visit. Or maybe he’s coming to break up with me, I considered to myself.

“What if he found someone else?” Dred fills my stomach like a lead weight as I turn to face Delilah.

“Mila,” she smiled, “I’ve never met him but from his letters and calls, I’d say he’s beyond ‘in love’ with you.”

I opened my mouth to ask another question, but she cut me off. “No more questions,” she commanded, “he’s bound to be here any second.”

The doorbell rang

“Go get it,” Delilah laughed.

Suddenly, I was panicking.

What if he didn’t love me anymore?

What if he found another girl?

What if he -

My thoughts were cut short when the doorbell rang again.

Delilah looked at me and huffed, “Fine.”

The door opened and sunlight flooded the foyer. Dominic stood in the doorway.

“You must be Dominic,” Delilah said and put out her hand. “I’m Delilah, but I go by Lila.”

He shook her hand and smiled. My heart skipped a beat at seeing his lopsided smile again and I couldn’t help but smile myself. My smile faded when my thoughts wandered back to Dominic leaving me.

“Pleasure to meet you, Lila,” he smiled and set his bags down on the floor.

His eyes scanned the room and eventually met mine. “Mila!” he exclaimed and rushed towards me.

I practically leaped into his arms. I wrapped my arms around him tightly, breathing in his scent. Dios mio, I missed him.

Dominic pulled back for a second and whispered, “You look beautiful.”

Somehow, he was even taller than he was four months ago as his honey-brown hair was cut close to his head. He looked like he’d grown up while he was away.

“You don’t look to bad either,” I replied as he embraced me again.

His hand snaked around my waist and pulled me closer. “Mi sei mancato, amore mio,“|I’ve missed you, my love,| he whispered.

Even though I didn’t understand him, my heart somersaulted.

We stayed like that for a while, and at some point, Delilah left. I guess she got sick of seeing us together.


Spring happened to be one of my favorite seasons. Dominic being here only made it that much better. He ran his fingers through my hair as we laid back in the grass, taking in the springtime sunshine.

“I missed you,” I said as I plucked a flower.

“Not as much as I missed you,” he countered.

“I was worried you might forget about me or, I don’t know, find someone else,” I mentioned.

“Impossible,” he assured me.


“Because,” he stopped playing with me hair to answer, “I love you.”

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