SARA © Robert Charles Burnham
Rights reserved. A Short Story
My Darling Sara,
I have moved out from my cover and candlelight to write to you under the full and beautiful moonlight. I wonder how many moons I missed during my time on earth simply because I never looked or took notice. But because this is most probably my last night on earth I have watched her (the moon) climb over the eastern horizon and now she has glided halfway across the heavens and her beauty has me thinking of you.
At times like this the human spirit is bewildering to me. I know I am in your thoughts but I would so much rather be in your arms. And I could be. I could get upon my horse and sneak away. I could come to you and I could probably taste the fruits of your love for another thirty or forty years. But I do not, and I am trying to figure out why. My legs are not shackled and no one, other than the enemy across the creek and field, is holding a gun to me. And yet I stay, knowing full well that sometimes in the morning the enemy is going to advance and I am going to die. We can all feel it. We can feel it on the desert breeze. We can see it in the fact that all the wild creatures have departed. There is no hoot from the owl or baying from the wolf. Even the frogs have held their tongue. Why do I not come home to you?
I am not coming home because of the man laying next to me. I do not know his name or where he hails from and I reckon he knows as little of me. I do not know if he has his own precious Sara safely tucked away in Tennessee, Virginy or Kentucky. But I can see the dreams in his eyes and I can feel his warrior’s strength and duty because they are my own. I know we share a belief in God and I know that we have both found something bigger than life, something worth dying for. In the morning, I ill tell him my name is Robert and I will ask his. There is nothing more pleasing to a dying man’s ears than to hear one’s own name. No one likes to die anonymously and if his breath is taken before mine, I intend to give him that comfort.
I am not coming home because of the land lying all around me. This rich land stands on the verge of greatness. It is about to become a nation and we will die here tomorrow to buy this land a few more precious days to become just that. I feel it is destiny. A great nation will be born and will father many offspring. Men like the ones whose company I keep tonight. Yes, I stay to fight for land not even my own. A piece of it would have been my own although I will never see it now. I do feel it because it is in my heart. The trees, the fields, the vast valleys; they are all within my heart. They reside in my heart, right along with you, my darling Sara.
The beauty of the moon makes me miss my life already. The beauty of the moon makes me think of you. Do you remember the day we walked along the river and shared our passion in that field of wildflowers. The world seemed so right and so free. And I will die tomorrow to ensure that for somebody else, someone’s sons and daughters, it will be again. It is the memory of that one fine day that I plan to carry with me into eternity.
Most of us here are barely men and we are all inconsequential. We are farmers, hunters, cooks and townsfolk. Glory is not for us and we do not die for the accolades of history. There are a few here, however, who are giants. I am not worthy enough to record history so please excuse me my dear for not penning their names. You already know their names and it is their names that will be remembered, along with, perhaps, the name of this place. They are men who I take great pride in personally knowing and it will be an honor to draw my last breath alongside them.
I must close now, darling Sara, one of us has been chosen to ride away before dawn carrying the Colonel’s last letter and the missives some of us have chosen to write. I have known many people in my life dear Sara but it is only to you that I choose to forward my last earthly thoughts to. I will ask you not to grieve, for I have accepted my dying here today as a necessity. I will ask you not to cry or to live in the past. Your life should be full of joy and all the wonders of this world. Greet each new day, my darling Sara with a smile and a laugh.
I do ask you to remember me to my father. Let him know that I fought for an honorable cause and alongside honorable men. Please, also remember my dog who is now yours. Remember to feed him and to let him wander the fields and wade the rivers. Remember this land and the blood that was taken to make her a nation. And, lastly, my sweet darling Sara, I beg you; always remember Texas, always remember the Alamo. Your dearest,