Without warning…on a beautiful sunny October day, with Fall shadows still a few weeks away, Bobby shook the ground I stood on.
Without telling me what he was going to do…Bobby Flanagan walked away from me…walked away from us.
He signed up for a six-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy, two days after he had turned seventeen.
He was certain that the Navy would offer him so many more opportunities than the life his father his planned for him.
After days and nights filled with my tears that wouldn’t stop, Bobby’s words were of little comfort.
“It’ll be okay,” he said after wiping my tears away. “We can do this, Sammy. You know we can.”
And yet he had never asked me what I thought.
In my heart and in my head, I knew how much this meant to him. I knew how important this was for him.
I only wished that I also knew that I was just as important to him…that he loved me as much as he loved his new, shiny-bright future.
What Samantha didn’t know…what would have changed everything…was how many tears Bobby had cried when the reality of his decision, the reality of his leaving her set in…even though he was sure it was the best solution for their future together. But…he never told her.
What Samantha didn’t know…was that leaving her was the hardest thing Bobby had ever had to do. And it was breaking his heart. But…he never told her.
He was seventeen and she was yet to turn sixteen.