( Intermediate Level )
While Arthur was away on deployment, he made a promise to Evelyn. He would write as often as he could to her. He would gist with her saying. “I don’t want my best gal to forget who I am.”
Arthur kept to his word. The letters would come on a regular basis. This let Evelyn know her husband was still alive.
The mailman looked out for these letters, too. He knew she anxiously awaited word from him. If she wasn’t outside waiting for the mail, he would take a few extra steps to hand-deliver the letter to her. Walking to her door and knocked.
She would read each letter over and over again until the next one came. This went on for two and a half years until he returned to her arms.
He made fun of her when she showed him she had kept all his letters neatly folded in their envelopes, tied in a red ribbon. “I am home now and safe. You can get rid of those silly old letters. You have the real me.”
“I will do no such things Arthur Munsee. Those are my letters and I will keep them forever. Tucked in the last book we read together before you were deployed.”
When Arthur had passed away, Evelyn kept his love letters to her safely tucked in a book they read She remembers how each would take their turn reading a chapter or two to each other, in the evenings.
Evelyn eventually had to move into a nursing home. Her daughter Elizabeth had a family and a busy career where she didn’t have time to care for her.
Evelyn took only a few belongings with her when she went. Her daughter would close up the house and take the items her mom requested to her in the facility. It was difficult moving into such a place but she knew it was for the best.
The house was left to Elizabeth’s daughter, Emma. Evelyn knew her own daughter would not give up her home and moved back to her hometown. Maybe her granddaughter would love to start her adult life in a small town.
She will graduate from the university this year and start her new independent life. She could certainly move into what was now her home and search for employment.
As Evelyn went through the packages her daughter brought from home she was missing the most important things to her. Her love letters from Arthur and the book. This is what kept Arthur’s memories alive for her. They were nowhere to be found.
Evelyn called her daughter regarding these missing items. “Mom, I couldn’t find them. I searched. The place where you mentioned but they weren’t there. I will look one more time before I head to the airport. If I find them I will surely bring them to you.”
“Emma will be coming in spring. I can have her look also. I am sure If I cannot find it she can. I am sorry, Mom, but I have limited time .”
Much to her dismay, there was nothing Elizabeth could do about the letters or the book now. She must wait until spring when Emma visits.
The nights were chilly so she kept her mind busy playing cards or helping on a jigsaw puzzle in the common area. Every now and then, she tried to pick up a book to read but it just reminded her of the one missing.
“Elizabeth, you have a phone call. Would you like to take the call here or I can transfer it to your room. It is your granddaughter Emma,” the duty nurse asked. “In my room, Please.” Elizabeth hurried to her room so she could speak with Emma where it was much quieter.
“Hi, Grandma. I will be heading your way on Friday. I have the keys to the house so I will let myself in. I get in late so I will wait until the morning to visit you. Is there anything you want from the house?”
“I cannot wait to see you! I wish I could have traveled to your graduation. As you know, It is difficult for me to get around now.”
“And yes, please find my book. The one your grandfather and I read each night. I know it is in the house somewhere. Inside there are all his letters to me.”
“Ok, Grandma. I will look for you before I come to see you on Saturday. I love you and I will see you very soon. Hugs and kisses.”
Evelyn hung up with her granddaughter and sat there looking at the phone. Some felt her obsession with these letters and the d book were a bit too much. For her, it was much more. She couldn’t explain why to anyone other than it was a memory she wanted to hold onto.
The week moved along slowly. Evelyn spent time sitting outside during the day, soaking up the sun and enjoying nature. She watched a family of hummingbirds frequent the feeders. Each took their turn sucking up the sweet nectar it offered.
She noticed she hadn’t felt herself lately. She tired more easily and her appetite decreased. She chalked this up to the worry of finding the letters.
Emma arrived at, what is now called her home, around half past eleven in the evening. It was an exhausting day for her. She told her mom before she left she was unsure when or if she would come back.
As a newly graduated young adult, she felt it would be a great opportunity to seek work. She wouldn’t have to pay rent since her grandmother left the house for her. She wouldn’t have that worry.
Her mom had done a wonderful job at closing up the house. All the furniture was draped in sheets and all the windows were locked. She called ahead to have the electricity on when she arrived. She found the bedroom that her grandparents had once shared. She pulled off the covering and quickly fell asleep.
Evelyn, on the other hand, was still awake at one in the morning. She had a restless night so she sat at her table playing games of solitaire. She played, what seemed, hundreds of games before she felt tired enough to sleep.
Emma woke at six in the morning. She searched the kitchen for coffee which she eventually found. She never ate breakfast but today she realized she was hungry. She decided to shower and get ready to leave a little earlier to see her grandmother so she could stop to have a bite to eat at the local restaurant.
After her shower, she moseyed around the house. Looking at old pictures on the walls and uncovering the furniture. she marveled at how well kept everything was. Her grandparents had exquisite taste in everything they had.
She dressed and started looking for the book her grandmother spoke of. She knew these items were of great importance to her. She looked and looked for what seemed forever.
The very last place she looked was the bedroom closet in which she stayed the night before. Tucked on the top shelf she saw an overstuffed book with a neatly tied red ribbon around it.
As she pulled it down, she realized this was what was so precious to her grandmother. It was the book and the letters she treasured so much. Her grandmother would be happy to see them once again.
She placed the bundle on the kitchen table and finished getting ready. She couldn’t wait to share this wonderful news and see her grandmother’s face when she delivered it to her.
She was about ready to leave when she noticed she had forgotten her cell phone. She remembered she sat it on the bedside table after turning it silent. She wanted to get a good night’s sleep.
Her cell phone was just where she put it the night before. As she retrieved it she noticed she had several missed calls from her mother. She thought to herself her mother was worried and wanted to make sure she arrived safely.
She listened to the voice mails. Her mother’s last voicemail sounded urgent. “Emma, please call me immediately when you hear this. It is very important that you speak to me as soon as possible.”.
As she walked back into the kitchen, she dialed her mom, “I was so tired when I arrived last night I fell asleep before I called you. I am sorry I worried you.”
There was silence. “Mom? Are you ok? Mom?” Her mother cleared her voice. “Emma, Grandma is gone. She passed. The nurses called me just a few hours ago.”
“Apparently, she had a rough night and couldn’t sleep. When she finally laid down it was about three in the morning. The nurses didn’t see her at breakfast so they checked on her. This is when they found her.”
“Oh Mom, I should have gone to see her last night. Even if it was for a brief moment or two. This morning I found her book and her letters. Now, she will never know I found them .”
” I will be catching the earliest flight I can to help make the arrangements. I am so sorry that I had to tell you over the phone. I will see you soon.”
Emma hung up the phone and sat at the table staring at the book neatly wrapped in its red ribbon. She found herself untying the ribbon to get to the letters. Why were these so important to her grandmother?
She carefully unfolded each letter, careful not to damage any in the process. The tears ran down her cheeks as she read through them, one by one.
The pure love that her grandfather had for her grandmother was read in each stroke of his pen. How lucky she was to have experienced such love like this.
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deployment – noun: movement of military troops
gist – verb: engage in chat
anxiously – adverb: eager
passed away – phrasal verb: die
close up – phrasal verb: to lock all doors and secure a building/ home
facility – noun: a place
independent – adjective: not depending on another for livelihood
employment – noun: paid work
regarding – preposition: with respect to
dismay – noun: distress
common area – noun: property available for use for all tenants
transfer – verb: an act of moving something or someone to another place
obsession – noun: idea or thought that continually preoccupies a person’s mind
soaking up – phrasal verb: to absorb or enjoy something that is around you
sucking – verb: the act of feeding/nursing
chalked – verb: that all hope is lost
exhausting – adjective: the feeling of being very tired
moseyed – verb: walk or move in a leisurely
exquisite – adjective: extremely beautiful
overstuffed – adjective: stuffed or filled to excess
precious – adjective: of great value
urgent – adjective: immediate action
arrangements – noun: plans or preparations
Question ( s ):
Do you have a possession that is precious to you that you’ve held onto?
Do you think Evelyn passed away due to grief of not having her letters?