Letting Go
By Wendy Mills

Cyndi Milson watched her boyfriend, Asa Hanless’s handsome face as he stared hesitantly at the official looking manila envelope in his trembling hands. The envelop had arrived in that day’s mail, and was from the Sacramento office of the California Conservation Corps. She knew Asa had been anxiously awaiting word from their office about his chances of becoming a member after taking the tests they had requested of him at the time of his application.

“Asa, you are never going to know what’s in that envelope if you don’t open it.” she said softly.

“I know. What if they turned me down?” Asa asked her, distressed at the possibility.

“Asa, open the letter before I do!” she said,exasperated.

Taking a deep breath, Asa slit open the envelope and took out the cream colored stationary. He unfolded the papers and began reading aloud,

“Dear Mr. Hanless,
We are pleased to inform you that after evaluating your test results that were sent to our office, that we have decided to welcome you as a new member-”

“I got in! I got in!” Asa screamed excitedly.

He grabbed Cyndi and kissed her. Cyndi’s blue eyes filled with tears of happiness for Asa. She knew how much he wanted to be a part of the California Conservation Corps. Ever since he had received a call from an old high school chum who was currently a member, and been told about all the wonderful opportunities that the statewide program offered to young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. He had always wanted to be involved with the types of jobs they trained members for: forestry, fire fighting, economics, among a few.

I’m glad they realized how much potential you have.” Cyndi told him.”What else does the letter say? Where are they going to send you? Do you think they will send you to Sacramento?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t get that far into the letter. As soon as I read that they accepted me, I stopped and hugged you.” Asa told her as he picked up the papers and started reading it. Cyndi watched as Asa’s smile evaporated and frowned. Asa put the letter down and looked at her with a troubled expression.

“Asa, what’s wrong? Tell me?” she asked.

“They are sending me down south to a place called Camarillo. Near Los Angeles. I have a bus ticket here dated for next Wednesday. Cyndi, I don’t want to go that far away and leave you here.”

Cyndi’s heart sank at his words. Tears of sadness filled her eyes. The thought of Asa being so far away scared her. She knew that once he left that he would not be able to leave again for six months. Not unless he wanted to give up all that the C.C.C.was offering him.

“If you tell me to stay, I will.”Asa said quietly.

Cyndi wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “ I won’t do that. I know how much of an opportunity this is for you, and I won’t ask you to give it up. I love you so very much. Enough to let you go.”

“I love you too, Cyndi. Nothing’s going to change that. Nothing.” Asa said as he pulled her close.

The next week passed quickly as Asa quit h is job and made preparations for his trip. Early Wednesday morning, Asa drove into the parking lot of the Greyhound Bus Station and a found a space near the entrance. He shook Cyndi awake and smiled as she opened her eyes. He knew that she hadn’t slept very well the night before. Neither of them had.

After she had brushed her hair, they got out of the car and walked into the bus station together. He found out from the ticket agent that the bus would be arriving in ten minutes. He walked over to where Cyndi sat and pulled her close. His bus arrived on time and they waited while some other passengers got on before Asa handed his ticket to the driver. Asa hugged Cyndi tightly and said,

“I love you Cyndi, and I always will.”

“I know you do. I love you too. Let’s not make any promises, okay?” Cyndi told him tearfully.

He nodded, and then boarded the bus. Cyndi watched it leave before she got into the car and drove away. She didn’t know what the future would bring them, but she hoped that they would share it together.