Saturday, January 11, 2014
Dear Jon - Issue # 24
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-two years, my daughter who is seventeen, a steer named after a famous NHL goalie, chickens, geese, ducks, one dog, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Being a fan of music – and many other things from the 40`s - I thought it would be keen to include the links to the songs mentioned in this story. Here`s Dooley Wilson with As Time Goes By. Feel free to play them as you read for atmosphere or wait until you’re done.
Dinner arrived with flair. Pity that pizzazz wilted as soon as Charlotte sashayed into my sister`s humble cottage. Andrew was on my lap, stuck to me like a dry burdock. Ross was filling a plate with some pie I had purchased at the diner. Coffee was percolating. Andrew`s father sat in one of the rickety chairs looking lost. His eyes would not move from his son. And damn me for being a bastard, I held onto my nephew as if he were my life. Well, he was. Half of it anyway.
"It`s not homemade, Corporal, but I wager even store-made might be tasty," Ross said as he placed the plate with the thin slice of cherry pie in front of the soldier.
"Isn`t that just my luck?" Charlotte said brightly. Our guest glanced over at the stunning redhead and his mouth dropped open an inch. "A good-looking man in uniform drops in and I`m off fetching meals!"
David stood up so rapidly his chair raced across the kitchen. He whipped his hat off his head.
"My name is Charlotte," she announced after depositing our meals on the table. He took her gloved hand gently. "Imagine a lady having to introduce herself."
"Sorry," Ross said as he moved to stand behind me. "We were still trying to recuperate from the pleasant surprise of Andrew`s father showing up."
Charlotte`s smoky eyes went wide. She allowed the soldier to bow over her hand then tugged free, her usually composed features reflecting her shock.
"I didn`t mean to cause hard feelings," David said. I pulled Andy closer. Ross placed a hand to my shoulder where it joins the neck..
"There are no hard feelings, Corporal," Ross said kindly as his fingers worked on the steel cords in my neck. "We are beyond thrilled to have our boys coming back home to their families."
Charlotte took the seat next to me. She stared at our guest openly, trying, I was sure, to find the similarities between Andrew and David. She did not have to search long. I met her worried look with one of my own. Ross continued kneading the knot in my neck.
"I just want you to know that I am thankful beyond words for what you`ve done for Andrew. Taking care of him as if he were your own son. I - well, when I was recuperating all I could do was worry about him and his mother. She never mentioned any illness at all. The letters . . . just stopped suddenly. Then when I got into town and started asking around . . . I am so sad that the good Lord took her," he said, his eyes growing dewy.
Charlotte handed the G.I. a frilly pink handkerchief from her clutch. He politely declined the offer. I turned my head so no one could see my tears welling up. I could not cry. Not in front of Andy. He had to know that his father coming to get him was a good thing. Ross rubbed harder to counter the emotional train wreck I was about to become. "We had planned to get married after the war and move to Boston where the family business is. Damn my stupidity for not insisting she marry me before I shipped out!"
"Don`t berate yourself, Corporal," Charlotte whispered to the distraught man. "We all think that we have lots of time."
"You`re very kind, Ma`am," he said thickly. I went to stand up. Ross kept me seated, fearing I would bolt. He was getting to know me rather well. The geese were at the back door. Andrew wiggled free.
"That`s George and Gracie," he informed the stranger with the same chin as his. My stomach cramped. Ross now had two hands on my neck. "They eat bread. You want to feed them?" David smiled weakly at his son then nodded.
The two went outside, each with a slice of bread in hand. As soon as the rickety screen door closed, I buried my face in my hands. Charlotte began whispering platitudes. Ross worked on my neck to the point of pain. I welcomed the harsh fingers deep in my knotted muscle. It kept me from breaking down into a blubbering blob completely. Ross bent down, his thick arms wound around my shoulders. I leaned back, sucking in rapid breathes to try to regain some control. The radio was playing a song from that movie that Bogie released a few years ago.
"I know," Ross said as his rough cheek rested against mine. "I know how hard this is for you, but the boy has to be with his father, Jon. I will be right at your side. You know I love you, right? We`ll get through this together."
I nodded. Ross placed his lips to my damp cheek. The door opened with a slam. I jerked sharply as did the man holding me so intimately. Andrew bolted up to the table with mud on his nose. Corporal David Brooks stood in the doorway, the smile he had been wearing slowly slipping as he spied me in my lover`s embrace. If not for the gentle music falling from the radio, the moment would have been unbearable. As it was, I knew any thought I might have entertained about asking for visitation was now gone.
I took one of those strong, rough hands on my shoulder in mine and held on tight.
Issue # 23