A Moment of Love
“Jake, can you hand me that wrench,” I called from next to the motorcycle, holding out hand. I waited for a minute before I realized that he was not hearing me. I stood up to see my boyfriend staring out the window. He looked as fantastic as ever, wearing his black leather jacket and tight blue jeans. But his face was as troubled as ever.
“Jake,” I called as I stood up and walked over to the other side of the garage. My boyfriend had been having a really hard time since arriving back from Afghanistan. We both knew that he was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was seeing a physiatrist, but it was slow-going. There were lots of times, when I would catch him staring off into space, reliving things that only he could see.
“Jake,” I called again, putting a hand on his shoulder. My poor man jumped a mile the second that I touched him, turning to face me in an almost defensive position. Immediately, I put my hands up so that he knew that I would not harm him.
“Dammit, Bryan, scare the crap out of me why don’t you?”
“I am sorry,” I whispered, rubbing a hand through my short black hair. “But you were not hearing me.”
Jake sighed. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped. What did you need?”
“I just wanted you to hand me something, but that is not important. Are you okay?”
I watched as my Jake tugged on the dog tags, which hung around his neck. It was a nervous gesture. It told me that he was anything but okay.
“Yeah, let’s just go back to work.”
I watched as Jake went back over the motorcycle. I had learned long ago not to push Jake right after one of his flashbacks. Maybe tonight when we were wrapped up in each other’s arms. Besides, we really did have to get this motorcycle fixed. Mr. Bowden was coming to collect it first thing in the morning.
Jake and I had been best friends since we were kids. By the time that we started dating in senior year of high school, we knew everything about each other. After graduation, I went onto trade school for motorcycle repair and Jake went into the Army. Now seven years later, I owned my own shop and Jake was out of the Army. Our relationship had blossomed despite the PTSD. He worked with me at the shop and, together, we had pooled our resources and had our own house.
But the PTSD was ripping us apart. He could not connect to me on a truly emotional level. I was trying to stand by him, but it was so hard to watch him go through this, knowing that there was nothing I could do. There were days when I did not know if he was capable of being in a relationship, being as broken as he was. So many nights, I laid awake wondering if we were going to make it.
Trying to push all of those thoughts out of my head, I went back to work of the Bowden bike.
About four hours later, I was putting the finishing touches on the bike when I heard a rustling sound coming from the back of the shop. I looked over and saw that Jake was working towards the front of the shop looking at bike that had come in a little while ago. The windows revealed that the sun had fallen, leaving only blackness. Was someone breaking in?
“Jake,” I whisper. “Did you hear that?”
Just as I was about to reply, I heard a massive crash coming from the back of the shop. I looked at the door to the back room before turning to Jake in panic.
Walking over to me, Jake encouraged me to stand before pushing me behind him. Grabbing one of the tire irons, he quietly headed towards the back room, me hot on his heels.
My heart started to race as we reached the door. What if we were getting robbed? The office where I kept the money was back there. Oh my God, what if they were armed? We could be killed. Trembling, I resisted the urge to grab my man’s jacket as he reached the door.
Putting a finger to his lips, Jake tightened his grip on the tire iron. Before I could stop him, he leapt through the open door. I watched in fear as he looked around before turning on the light.
I was expecting the worst when Jake burst out laughing. Confused, I poked my head around the door frame to see a raccoon sitting by the trash can. Jake quickly shooed him out the back door that he had apparently come in, still laughing.
“It is not funny,” I mutter.
“Yes, it is,” he says, pulling on my jean jacket dragging me into his chest. His hysterical laughter was contagious as I let myself let go, laughing into his neck. I still did not think that the situation was as funny as him, but I was able to smile at his enjoyment. It had been so long since he had laughed like this. I gently placed a kiss on his neck, smile still huge on my face.
This had been what was missing. I missed the spontaneous hugs, the nuzzles, the kisses and the laughter. I missed being able to press my face into his neck and smell his scent. Whenever I was like this, with his arms around, I always felt so safe. Like nothing could touch me. If he could hold me like this forever, I would die a happy man.
When he calmed down, he pulled me against his chest and gave me a passionate kiss on the mouth. It felt like love. And it gave me hope that one day we would be laughing like this all the time. One day.