She watched the man in the distance. He was walking away not just from her, but his family.
Each morning she would get up and look out her window for the man.
She could hear her mother crying upstairs, her little brother just staring blankly out the door.
It wasn't right, that man should have been here with them.
Why did he leave?
She didn't understand what her mother meant when she told her children that he had to leave.
"Why?" She had asked.
"For our future," Her tearful mother replied.
It didn't make sense.
And then the sound of bombs could be heard. The family ducked under tables and chairs as the sound of explosions were heard just outside their door.
The little girl peeked through the window to the outside world... full of ashes and dilapidated houses.
Tears were in her eyes, and she ran to her mother. Her brother and her held tight to their remaining parent, crying dreadfully, hopelessly... as the world really did feel like it was burning.
They were huddled into a shelter with other families, and the little girl looked around, many children missing a father just like her.
She talked to some of the kids, her and her brother, and it felt scary yet safe all the same.
They watched from the shelter at night, a thousand explosions in the dark.
People screamed as paramedics and volunteers helped bring in the burnt and injured bodies of the civilians from the streets.
The war felt like it would never end.
The little girl stood watching the injured people scream and cry and beg to be put out of their misery.
She lay in bed all night, images of decapitated people in her mind's eye.
And then it came, the news after several months, years. The war was over.
Mothers and wives cheered and cried in happiness when they sons and husbands returned back to them alive.
She waited to see her father come home, come back to them.
But... he didn't.
Her mother got food stamps, feeding her son and daughter as much food as she could get.
Soon she knew they'd have to move away from the city, to her elderly parents.
As the little girl sat in the kitchen at the table, she saw her little brother, now twelve years old, look out the door like he did when he was small... searching for the man he had called father.
Sometimes in her dreams, she saw that man, turning to her from the distance and nodding his head, smiling a sad smile.
She woke when he took a step in the horizon, and she lay on the bed, her green eyes wide and her heart beating slowly.
In a few years, her mother remarried.
The man was a farmer, and he had no time for her and her brother.
The two were old enough to start working, and work they did.
But the girl... now a young woman, wondered to herself... was this it?
She helped keep the farmhouse clean, as well as cook the meals for her step father and brother.
Her brother had changed with time.
More headstrong and quiet.
By the look of him... he looked like he had given up on dreams... on a life more than this.
It was time for her to marry, and her stepfather arranged a marriage to a young banker.
He would support her, and she in return could go back to the city.
She didn't love him, but she respected him. He was a good man, if a little nervous and unsure of himself.
Over time love grew stronger, he was kind and a good person. He was someone she would have never imagined marrying as a little girl, but as a jaded woman he brought in a little bit of sunlight to her world.
She beared three children to him, the oldest a boy, then a girl and another son.
She was happy, as happy as she would allow herself to feel. The children took up much of her time. They were smart like their father and wise like their mum.
And then the news came.
There was another war on the way, one that was much worse than the first.
She grew worried, herself middle-aged now and she remembered the sight of her father walking away into the fiery night.
Her oldest son was drafted, and she begged to him not to go... but he had made up his mind.
"For my country" He had stated, "For our future."
"Or, y-your death..." She cried to herself as she saw him in uniform, about to be shipped abroad.
She got up early in the morning, and ran down the stairs when she discovered he wasn't in his bed.
She opened the door, and in the distance saw the young man walk towards the horizon.
"Daddy, don't go!" She cried, seeing her father look back at her.
"DON'T GO!" She yelled to her son, and he turned looking at her.
"I have to, mother... for our future."
"No! Don't PLEASE!"
"Promise!" She cried as he began to walk away, "P-promise you'll come back!"
And like that, he was gone.
She ran to that horizon in her dreams, ran and ran but couldn't reach the end. As she ran, she saw a white light shine in the distance, and the shadows of two men.
The two hugged each other, both wearing army clothes and looked back at her, smiling with eyes full of tears.
"Daddy! Don't take him!" She begged her father, "Don't take him with you!"
"I love you mum..." her son said, and as she reached her hand out he vanished into the light.
Her heart hurt so much when she woke, and she sat up... swearing she could hear voices singing. She got out of bed, and looked through the window... in the distance a shadow of a young man.
Her eyes filled with joyful tears, as she ran down the stairs and onto the streets.
People were cheering as the war was over. She passed by the crowds till she reached the young man and hugged him.
He stumbled back, before embracing her in a hug too.
"I thought you had gone with him..."
She looked into his eyes, and smiled sadly, "With your grandfather..."
"I... I couldn't." He said, and smiled softly, "I promised."
She beamed a shaky grin, and hugged her son.
The sun rose to the sky... as the world began again.
This time... with her son... and her father... forgiven.