-The Engineer, via Budding Writers
This is a short story I wrote several months ago in honor of my grandfather. Someone once told me that while my grandpa enjoys my writing—he's a frequent reader of my blog—he doesn't always like the "violence" that is in my stories. I was a little surprised by this, as I didn't really consider my stories to be "violent", but I understood what they meant and started trying to think of a story I could write that wouldn't have any fighting or guns or... well... anything that could be violent.
The result was Memory. Though the word is not, I don't believe, in the short story, it is a fitting title. And besides, I couldn't think of a better one. There's a line in the story that you may be confused about (I won't say which one I'm referring to, in case you don't notice it), but it was intentional, not a mistake.
Update/Note: Yes, I am aware that there are flaws with this short story. I'll end up rewriting it someday when I have time. My grandpa himself didn't really understand the story. Well, maybe next time will work better. :)
So without further ado... enjoy the story!
By Reuben Horst
“What are you doing here?” Sandra stammered, looking across her bedroom, scanning for anything that looked out of place.
Ben looked up from the book he has been browsing through, one Twilight that he had apparently found on her nightstand. He also looked around the room, seeing if he'd left anything out of place. The bed by which he stood was still perfectly made. The floor was nearly spotless, save a small, dark stain on the carpet, probably due to a coffee-spilling accident some time ago.
There was a trash can by the door that seemed to catch Ben's attention, but Sandra glanced inside and saw nothing abnormal.
On the right side of the room, from her perspective, bookshelves that contained more books that she hadn't read than books that she had covered the wall. Sandra's sanctuary was without a closet, but she really didn't mind, as she wouldn't know what to put in it, other than more books. A rocking chair and a lamp were sitting in a different corner.
Ben turned his eyes back to Sandra, and she did the same for him. She couldn't see much guilt in his eyes for entering her room without permission, let alone her house. Instead, she saw a look of great sorrow in those magnificent teal eyes.
The man swallowed, put the vampire novel down, and apologized quietly, “I'm sorry for coming in. You were gone, and I got restless standing around outside.”
Sandra could feel her face grow red, but the sorrow in Ben's eyes kept her temper in checked.
“You violated my privacy,” she breathed instead, drilling him with a stare that seemed to make Ben flinch. She realized she was being far too harsh to a man such as Ben, her brother-in-law's brother, who used to hang out with her all of the time, and so she softened her eyes. This seemed to make Ben feel better, so he walked towards her and pulled an envelope out of his green jacket pocket.
“I was told to give this to you,” he said, placing the piece of folded paper into her hands. Sandra nearly gasped, as she immediately recognized her father's handwriting stating her name, Sandra Swain, on the envelope. Ben excused himself so that Sandra could read it.
Sandra's hands trembled as she tore the envelope's seal, and she pulled out a piece of folded paper. When she saw the 'My Sweetheart Sandra,' at the beginning, she was already fighting back tears.
My Sweetheart Sandra,
If you are reading this note, then I am most likely dead. By the time anybody finds this and the similar note I left for your sister, my time will have passed. Whether by accident, heart attack, cancer, or some form of murder that at present I would not understand, I am gone.
I want to apologize, my dear, for not being the best dad in the world. I know you have been angry at me in the past for not playing with you when you wanted or not acting impressed at your successes. Truth be told, I was impressed, but chose not to show it because my own father did the same to me. I realize now that it was stupid, and I probably offended you numerous times.
I want to beg your forgiveness. If there was anything I wish I could live over again in my life, it would be my time with you and Alice. I would relive it so that I could change it.
When I left you two, I cried for an hour, because at the time I judged it to be the best thing to do, though I didn't want to do it. I could just go on and on about everything I regret, but you wouldn't want to read that. Right now I would just ask your forgiveness.
I have met the man who slaughtered what I once was, and who saved me while I was drowning in an ocean of pain and self pity. I have come to see the true light, and the reason why he died to save my life. Because truly, any good man would sacrifice himself for others.
But, alas, my hand hurts from writing, and I still need to write Alice's letter. I hope you can forgive me for all that I've done, but even if you can't, at least one person has. I want you to meet him someday, because that would be really, really cool.
Sandra had started sobbing less than halfway through. She shook as each sob overwhelmed her body.
Her father, Johnathan Swain, had left her mother, herself, and her sister Alice four years ago, before either of the sisters had graduated from college. Memories of mourning and sadness returned to her frail mind, and she cried more.
How much time passed after that she did not know. Time blended together with her mourning her father's death all over again. It was just six months ago that they had received news that he had been in a car accident with two drunk idiots, but Sandra was just now realizing that his life had been changed before he had died.
After a while she noticed Ben was there beside her, trying to comfort her. She latched onto him and didn't let go, and then they cried together. She couldn't think or figure out why she had lost her mind so much and broke down like this, though at this point, she didn't care.
Sandra hugged Ben as tight as she could. She loved this man. Not in a romantic way, but as a brother who was always there for her. Technically, he was a brother. He was her sister's husband's brother.
After an amount of time that only God could know, Sandra settled down, and Ben was able to tell her that the letters from her father to herself and her sister, along with a will, were found in Johnathan Swain's safe, which they had just gotten permission to search from her father's attorney.
Sandra slowly recovered from her breakdown, and she turned to Ben and whispered, “Did you read the letter?” Ben hung his head and nodded shamefully.
“Do you know who this man Dad wants me to meet is?” she asked, watching his eyes.
Ben suddenly looked up with a slight smile on his face. He nodded and asked her back, “Do you want me to help you meet him?” The question slightly confused Sandra, but she nodded her head, not knowing what else to do.
Ben stood up and reached a hand down to help her up, which she thankfully took. Sandra took the letter, tucked it in the envelope, and set it on the nightstand. She then took Ben's hand, and they walked out of the room together, towards an unknown future.
Ben thought he knew this person that had saved her father's life, and the idea excited her. She really couldn't wait to meet the man.
Feedback would be appreciated.