Asteraceae

United States

I'm a young beginning writer and don't have much experience, but enjoy creative writing and short stories. I love swimming, sketching, singing, and math. I am learning latin and french, and am an INFJ and ambivert. I'm always dreaming!

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To Remember Love is to Know Pain

September 22, 2020

It was late afternoon when the mail was delivered. “Dorothy? You’ve got mail, darling.” My mother called. As I hopped down the stairs, I saw her waiting at the landing, holding a small, pale envelope. I plucked the letter from her long fingers and gently opened the seal. It’s red stamp gave a slightly sinister ambiance. The letter read, 
Dear Miss Sanders, 
Our deepest condolences at the loss of your brother, Georgie Sanders. He was an excellent man, and served most honorably for our great country’s safety. This year, our city will be holding a Pearl Harbor Memorial service, and we would be privileged to have your attendance. A few veterans and other families will be sharing their experiences of the attack on Pearl Harbor last year. Of course, we completely understand if you or your family are reluctant to describe your situation, but we truly hope to see you there, either as a speaker or attendee.
Sincerely, 
City council
“What does it say, sugar?” My mother pressed, noticing the way my eyebrows knit together. 
“The city is holding a memorial service. To remember last year.” I answered. 
“What a considerate idea! To commemorate our-” I quickly turned away and fled back up the stairs, cutting off the rest of her words. Reaching my room, I softly shut the door and sighed. I didn’t want to remember this. I’d tried to work though my emotions after losing him, but I was never able to come to terms with the facts. To pretend to be happy was easier than knowing I could never get Georgie back. But would it be selfish of me to shy away when so many others felt the same, yet were strong enough to share? 
I took a deep breath and reached for the ornate wood box I kept in my closet, on the highest shelf. With my short stature, I had to stretch and lift myself all the way up onto my toes to reach it. The box had patterns carved into it’s smooth poplar wood, a gift from Georgie when he was first stationed in Hawai’i. I used to keep my jewelry in it, but I tucked it away after last year. Seeing it sitting there reminded me of him, and I couldn’t stand the feeling that dropped into my stomach each time I laid eyes on it’s pale wood. Now it held Georgie’s old letters to me. But the letters held my memories, memories which I’d stuffed away behind crevices and chasms in my mind to leave the aching place in my heart empty. 
Georgie’s first letter to me was on the very bottom. I hadn’t saved each one, but I remember being so eager to rip the envelope open. His very first letter spoke of the rigorous training from boot camp. He wrote of sore muscles and how much he took mother’s cooking for granted, and how he felt alone without Missy, our cat, to sleep with.  It was short and sweet, because he hardly had time for relaxing between training, but the next letter was less exuberant, more serious. He had been talking with other soldiers, who had seen more of the fighting across seas before being stationed in Pearl Harbor. He didn’t write any details about what he heard, but he was afraid. Back home, Georgie had always been a daredevil, constantly taking risks for the fun of it, so this letter had troubled me. 
The next few cards were mostly about army life and how much Georgie missed us, but he was able to send a few packages. The wooden box, a beaded hairpin, and a fountain pen with stationary were delivered in brown parcels whilst he was away. The hairpin broke after I dropped it and accidentally stepped on it, and the stationary was used up writing to Georgie. But I loved seeing his wavering handwriting and imagining the past year.
The last letter wasn’t from Georgie. It was addressed to my father, from the U.S. government, nearly a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I brought in the post that day and was distributing the deliveries, all hell broke loose. My mother buried her face into my father’s chest and wailed after I handed it to them with wavering hands. My father himself, who had never let his emotion run amuck, slammed his fist into the wall, sending splinters of plaster flying. We all knew what it meant, before even opening the message. That night, we went to bed without supper. And the night after that. 
But not too long after, my parents organized the funeral and put on sad smiles for all. 
    I set down the paper. I couldn’t stop the hot tears from falling if I tried. They crawled down my fair skinned face and plummeted into the paper, danced for a moment, then sank into the parchment, leaving blots behind. I was overwhelmed after shoving down my emotions for so long, keeping the depression and yearning to be comforted away. I couldn’t handle his absence until now, when I’d finally learned that just because someone is gone doesn't mean you can’t love them the same .
I calmed my red face and crept down the stairs to the parlor, where my mother was crocheting. 
“Ma? I was thinking,-” I began, only to find myself cut off.
“Sugar, I know it’s hard, and you don’t have to make that speech with all those people, but maybe you ought to try for Georgie, don’t you think?” she practically begged. 
“I was going to say I’ve thought about it. A lot, truly. I’ve decided I’d like to at least make an effort to tell his story. I remember loving him, even if that does hurt.”
My mother’s embrace had never felt warmer.

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  • September 22, 2020 - 9:52pm (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • Anne Blackwood

    Aw, this is so achingly beautiful. Also, how do you pronounce your username? Lol. (Please reply on one of my pieces, saying Re: *your message*)


    5 months ago