This is the last full week of December and, as such, the last of my scheduled short stories.
I will continue writing them, and posting them, but with the ‘regularity’ (HA!) of this schedule. I hope you will enjoy them all the same, or more so, in their new randomness.
Here is my big finale – a little look at a slice of a very important day in one girl’s life.
The year was 1943, the man was a fedora sporting dark eyed, people watcher, and the car was a coupe. That was all the picture had to offer for the thirsty eyes of the young lady who had found it buried in a dusty box. One memento, carefully packed away using the old ‘box in a box wrapped in a blanket, under junk in another box’ trick. Good thing she was tenacious (or stubborn as her Mother always asserted), otherwise she would have given up hours ago. But the only thing Corinna ever gave up on was cleaning the house!
Giggling to herself, Corinna grabbed the photo and the box it had been so lovingly packed in, careful to keep the few other mementos intact, and scurried back down to her room (where she was supposed to be napping away a headache). Too late! Grandma was sitting on the patchwork bedspread with a smirk on her face, “Did you really think you were light enough on your feet to get away with that little girl?”
“Oh Grandma!” Corinna only pouted for a minute, her grandma was the most likely person to help her with this conundrum. “Since I wasn’t, and since you’re here…”
“You found the box.” It wasn’t a question, just a statement wafting by on a sigh. At Corinna’s nod, Grandma patted the mattress and motioned the girl over. “I suppose it is time to tell you about this. You are, after all, becoming quite the young lady. Maybe you should know where you get it from.”
Corinna danced across the room excitedly, twirling delicately into a bow that proffered the box of goodies in front of Grandma’s outstretched hands. “Grandma, this looks just like the car for sale down the street. Is that why Mom won’t help me try to buy it for my birthday?”
Grandma sighed, “You WOULD want that car girl! Your mother doesn’t want you buying the car because it doesn’t just LOOK like the one in the photo…” her shoulders slumped, “It IS the one in the photo. The car for sale down the street in your father’s, and your mother is so scared that she’s ready to pack up and move. There is no way that she’ll allow you deal with him and buy the car.”
“My…father…” Corinna whispered. “WOW! Scared?” She had known this picture was important, had known she had to find something, anything, from the past when she had overheard Mom and Grandma whispering about it earlier, but she had only thought about herself and her upcoming birthday. Now though, her FATHER. “wow” she whispered again. “Father. Why would she be scared of my father? She’s always said how much in love they were before he had to go off to the war. And how much she hoped to someday see him again.”
“She never said what war dear,” Grandma gently set the box aside and took her granddaughter’s hands. “Your parents met eighteen years ago and were soon inseparable…”
And so began the telling of Corinna’s family history, of love and duty, of loyalty and disruption, and of running from a war that had nothing to do with external forces.
Through it all Corinna’s mother, who had gone by the Bea for the past sixteen years, leaned against her daughter’s closed bedroom door and listened as silent tears poured from her eyes. Maybe it was time to stop running and finally turn to face their swiftly approaching past.
“Amber,” The deep voice had not changed in all their time apart, “I’ve missed you.”