She felt shattered. She had borne her soul to him, sharing all her feelings. She declared them openly, publicly, holding nothing back. Literally she felt the same as if she was stark naked as no veil of covering to her heart remained.
Something in Caitlin’s eyes worried her father. She was a vision in the gorgeous dress. Wes waited anxiously ninety feet away.
“Daddy,” she said unsteadily.
“What’s wrong?” he knew the voice.
“It’s nothing,” she nodded the feeling away.
“No honey, it’s not!”
Manuel stood clutching the wrinkled photograph of Mariana from the Lake Michigan dinner cruise, the one of her in her little black cocktail dress. It had been four long years since that happy time. Their celebration of nuptials just prior to her deployment with her combat support unit in Afghanistan was the last happy moments he could recall. After the roadside bomb shattered her Humvee and rendered her a shell of herself he had never been able to reclaim the love of his life.
“Why? Why Mariana, why do you go away?”
Manuel had not noticed his wife’s good friend, Sophia approach.
“She doesn’t realize what she is doing,” she said softly. Manuel flinched and pivoted quickly, showing his surprise at her presence.
“I’m sorry, you were so deep in thought you did not hear me,” Sophia explained.
“What are you saying? She doesn’t know what she is doing?”
“I went with her to see the neurologist yesterday. He says there is something triggering her mind, throwing it back to the day she left for Afghanistan. You see that is the last day she remembers very well. Whatever this trigger is keeps sending her back to that moment.
“It’s me,” Manuel said as he squeezed out the tears overwhelming his eyes.
“No honey, it is some event.”
“I keep trying to get her to remember the dinner cruise, The Chicago skyline, the smells or anything else to bring her back. Each time I try she just seems to float away. It is like losing her again and again.”
“Then you have to let that pass, at least for now. Try another way to get her back,” Sophia said.
“It’s not fair. She loves this country. We have it so much better here than in Cuba. She just wanted to do her part, to support her new home and show she was just as willing as any other American to serve her country. Why did it have to be her? Why are we trying to change a culture that has been this way for centuries?” Manuel said through heavy tears.
“I don’t know Manuel. I think you join a long line of family members demanding answers to these questions. You just have to try harder with Mariana using another approach.”
Manuel embraced his wife’s friend and turned to walk home. Along the way he racked his brain for another way to reach his wife. Seeing his front door he finally set tled on a new approach. But would it work? Would she respond any differently?
From the bottom of the short stair case he could see her folding laundry. The army way was ingrained as it always would and the neat piles showed her training had not been lost with all the other pieces of her life. She offered a familiar smile as he opened the door to enter.
“I was thinking we could ride over to the boardwalk after supper and try the ferris wheel,” Manuel said.
“Are you trying to sweet talk me Manny?”
“Is it working?”
“Perhaps!” she said cocking her head and batting her long eye lashes.
She stood and he pulled her into an embrace. She sighed contently as he held her. He hoped this would finally be the way to reach her.
“We can’t stay too long dear. I must finish arranging my gear. The bus for the base leaves at 0600 tomorrow morning.”
Hello all! I came along too late last week to join the MicroStory and it is a shame because I believe I captured the idea so well in my 42 words. Please take a minute and read so you can give me some feedback. You can find it on the Fiction Playground. This week I am on time and excited to take part. Enjoy!
“Objection!” from both lawyers mouth.
“Enough!” Says judge with gavel. “I’ve enough to rule.”
Anxious looks on him and her.
“Not a hard choice,” Judge says. “Rule in favor of fish in the sea. You deserve each other, divorce denied.
He knew she was there, at least part of her. The feeling of oneness was not as strong, not nearly as complete as when they were just married, but there was a remnant. A yearning to put the puzzle back together. It was a puzzle he sought to complete for several years. Finding Cammie at twenty-six years of age was a miracle. He had literally thrown in the towel after many failed relationships. The “normal” his parents knew of thirty plus years of bliss would not be his.
Cammie was a force of nature like none he had ever known. Her presence in a room, yard, concert arena or whatever they did immediately changed the dynamics. He could see her described so well in every love song that filled his ears. She was everything he could ever dream of and a lot of things he had not yet. That is why he knocked himself out to make sure her every wish and whim came true at their wedding.
Then came the honeymoon in the Cayman Islands. He would have gone to the next city if that had been her wish, but this was her dream. She loved diving and there was a new attraction where guests could try out their skill in the clear blue waters of the eastern shores. Cammie was good enough to have been an Olympic diver, but just wasn’t interested in committing so many years of her life.
To her this was a slice of nirvana. Dive after dive powered her million watt smile to grow even brighter. Sam wanted to freeze this moment so he could enjoy it forever. He had no idea that wish would be one he would want to have over on over for the rest of his life. It was the most beautiful dive of the day that caused the problem. Cammie barely even disturbed the water, her entry was so fluid. But then she did not surface. Five seconds, ten and then Sam went after her, followed quickly by others who were there.
Sam found her fifteen feet below the surface, and her ankle was caught in a narrow crevice. She struggled to get free and to not panic, but the truth was too clear. He could see the fear and dread in her eyes. Seconds ticked away as they struggled to free his forever love. Her ankle would not budge at first, but finally they worked it free, but only after severing a big vein.
The doctors shook their heads in the hospital. She was submerged way too long, the air deprivation too severe. She could help others, but they could not help her. Sam held her hand for an entire day before he could come to terms and nod his agreement.
Now here he was in their home of Charleston and he could feel Cammie. He knew he wasn’t imagining, there had been too many days without this feeling to be mistaken.
“You don’t know me,” the young woman said.
“You have Cammie’s heart,” Sam smiled.
“How did you know?”
“Let’s just say I know.”
“I had to find you, to thank you. I wouldn’t be here if not for Cammie’s sacrifice. I get to finish medical school now. I am studying to be an oncologist at Emory University.”
“I know you will do well.”
“I hope I have the heart for it, it will be demanding.”
“Trust me when I say you do,” Sam smiled.
Back before the 2014 Writing Sabbatical I used to take part in the various Yeah Write prompts. There was the Weekly Writing Challange, which I only qualified for once, the Speakeasy, for fiction and the Moonshine Grid on the weekend for whatever was on your mind. Now there is only the Weekly Writing Challenge and a new option, the 42 word Microstory. This week the microstory is based on the question: “Why is the rum gone?” I love flash fiction and at a measly 42 words this is definitely flash fiction. I hope you enjoy and I invite you read more of my flash fiction.
Aloysius Flanagan, 115, was the longest serving constable in America. He remembered prohibition days and with advanced Alzheimers he regulated as if it was policy today. His old 1954 Ford groaned with a load of the dark fluid. “Save them from themselves,” he smiled.