"Where's the ring?" Jolene asks.
"I'm sorry, ma'am"—She already has her answer—"there was no ring."
She takes the flag and nods, stroking her fingertips over Pooch's dog tags.
She doesn't cry when she reaches her car, even though she can feel the sting of her tears. She rests her forehead against the steering wheel, breathes deeply, and rubs her stomach.
"Don't worry, baby. Daddy's coming home." Soon, she hopes.
So when Pooch slips into the room, Jolene smiles. See, baby? I told you, she tells her son. He came back for you.
Their baby screams, bright and fierce and healthy.