He closed his eyes against the passing clouds that enclosed the plane. He hadn't had a decent sleep in as long as he could remember and he tried to start making up for it. But he couldn't stop the onslaught of images that flooded his mind the instant he drifted off.

He saw sand everywhere, but t wasn't just that. He saw both fear and hope, desperation and despair in the eyes of those that passed by. His best friend from back in diapers had died in front of his very own eyes.

They'd just finished talking about his impending marriage when the signal had come and they'd stormed the building. They'd gone in confident and they shot anyone in their sights. The squad had thought they'd taken everyone until they were walking out and the soldier saw his friend jerk next to him the same time heard the shot. The men around them took out the shooter, but his friend was down on the ground, his hand to his chest talking about his fiancée and their daughter-on-the-way. The soldier watched him die before any help came.

The whole time, the whole time he'd been over there, he'd been saved by a simple letter that he never should have gotten. It had come on the day of his friends death and it had been his responsibility to tell the sender that her friend was no longer. She'd written back after that, thanking him for taking on the obligation of informing her. He wrote her back and so on and so forth until he almost woke up just to see if he got another letter.

The fifth week he had come upon a young child walking through the empty streets with blood caked onto their face and clothes. They were crying out for their parents, but there wasn't a native in sight. He and some other men had started walking towards the child when there was a flash of light and the ground shook. When he'd regained his sight and picked himself off the dirt street, he saw the imprint of where the child had once stood, but was no longer. In the place was chunks that had been ripped from the precious body when the bomb had gone off.

The soldier rubbed his eyes, realizing he wouldn't be getting any peaceful sleep. Instead, he patted the pocket of his shirt, ensuring that her latest letter was still there. It was.

He'd been in the ninth grade when she'd first moved to his town and became the love of his best friends life. She'd been sent to boarding school, so he never saw her, but his friend spent every weekend with her. They'd gotten engaged right before he got the call to ship out.

Now the soldier understood why she'd been so cherished. Without her, he wouldn't have made it as far as he had. He'd told her everything, needing the release from the heinous deliverance's that he'd seen. She never complained, just read what he had to say and wrote back. She'd been the anchor in his storm.

He'd been sleeping against a tank one night when an air raid had struck. The ground was torn up around him and he'd had just enough time to seek shelter before the real strike happened. They hadn't lost any men that night, but they'd come close. The whole time he'd just prayed to see her one last time.

The plane descended and the soldier grabbed his bag like the others around him. When the ground met them, the soldiers fled out of the plane, patting each other on the backs, but mostly searching the crowds. They all wanted to see their loved ones. He skimmed the crowd, hoping to see a familiar face, but not expecting it.

He'd made it halfway through the crowd before the waves parted and he'd been saved. He dropped his bags and he cried as he walked into the arms of home.