Their Fallen Father

April 6, 2017
By jazminepearl BRONZE, Scottdale, Pennsylvania
jazminepearl BRONZE, Scottdale, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."-Dr. Seuss

I never thought that I would see a death messenger step on my front door step. I never thought that I would have to sit our three kids down and explain to them that Daddy wasn’t coming home. I never thought there would not be anymore presents that had perfectly tied bows on them, each wrapped with their favorite colors, from Kuwait sent with hugs and kisses and more importantly there wouldn’t be anymore goodnight kisses. Everything that I didn’t think would happen, happened.
This morning was like every morning. I woke up, walked down stairs, and crossed out the date on the calendar. Ten days and he would be home. I woke up the kids and made sure they all brushed their teeth. Today felt like a good day. On this very morning the birds were chirping and the sky was lit by the candle universe’s candle. The kids came down, ate, and I took them to school. Lord knew that that was going to be the happiest morning they’ll have for a long time.
I came home and cleaned the dishes, our little ones sure knew how to make a mess. James somehow managed to get syrup on the ceiling. I chuckled to myself. I heard the phone ringing but I was in the shower and I couldn’t answer. I thought to myself that this was probably one of the kids calling because they forgot their gym clothes or they were sick or maybe Amelia had gotten one of those terrible migraines. I walked downstairs to the sweet aroma of apple pie. I picked up the phone to check the caller ID and it was a number I had never seen before. And, North Carolina. A state I had never seen before. I dialed the number and the person answering said, “United States Military. What branch would you like me to connect you to?” I didn’t know what to say: I was in shock. Why was the military calling my house? At that moment something hit me, this was about Max.
I didn’t know whether or not to carry on the conversation but I knew I needed to get answers somehow. “Yes I would like to be connected to the Army,” I said the person on the other end, who held the key to the answers that I needed. “Alright ma’am, can I give the general a name of who is calling,” he asked. “Max.. Max.. Max Lopez,” I replied. After a few minutes, I finally hung up. I couldn’t stand to wait and the suspense became overwhelming, too much to handle. That phone call was all I could think about that morning. I couldn’t keep my mind off what was supposed to have been said to me.
I heard a subtle knock on the door and I peeked out the window. I saw an army officer in uniform with a manilla folder in his hand. This ought to be good I thought to myself. Humor was and still is how I cope with pain. They do say laughter is the best medicine, and I’m positive in that moment that is what the doctor would have prescribed to me. I went to open the door, but I couldn’t find the strength to do it. I grasped the cold, metal doorknob and tried to turn it. Nothing. I couldn’t find out the inevitable that I knew was waiting for me on the other side. I finally opened the door and looked into the dark brown eyes that were full of sorrow.
I love him. I miss him. This is just a dream. Just a dream. Our first kiss. Our first date. Getting married. Thoughts and memories whirling around me, dizzying me.
He isn’t gone, he will never be forgotten. Even today. I’ll make sure of it.
At that moment I grabbed the folder and walked inside. I needed to get away from reality.
The hardest part was going to have to explain to the kids what had happened. Do I tell them Daddy went on a special mission? Do I tell them the truth? Do I tell them of the very first date we went on? Do I remind them of the time he surprised us on Christmas by being home? Do I tell them about the article I once read about a missing soldier and they tortured him by tying him to poels and burning him? Those thoughts were racing through my head and I didn’t know how to process them. What was I going to do? How could I tell them their father was gone? Would I think of him as their fallen father or by some miracle would I get to think of him as their alive and well father?
I saw the bus and the kids ran off the bus. James stopped by a window on his bus and yelled at his best friend Andrew, telling him to remember to bring his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys to school tomorrow. Amelia was still mad at me for taking her phone.  Xavier would fight when I refused to let him join the military. Looking into James’, Amelia’s, and Xavier’s faces and keeping my composure was the hardest thing I have ever done. I sit them down and tell them, “Kiddos, Momma needs to tell you something.”

The author's comments:

This piece came to me in the middle of the night while I was falling asleep. It is one of my very favorites.

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