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A Crane to Remember
I walked up to the attic and went over to the left corner where I found a box. I opened it and found what was a fond memory yet sad memory at the same time that sends tears down my face as I think about it just now. I study the object to see all of the letters written and words that I can barely make out. But I don’t have to pay attention to the words for I know them all by heart ever since I received this precious item, my treasured origami crane.
Sitting in my classroom on a lovely morning in September sipping my nice warm cup of coffee, I hear the bell ring and watch as my little third grade students walk in one by one saying, “Hi Mrs. Riles!” They are very joyful voices to listen to. Finally I announce to the entire class that we were going to start the morning with silent reading. While sitting down and correcting my papers, the classroom phone rang.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hi Hun. I know I got out of the door early and quickly this morning to get to the office, so I wanted to call to say I hope you have a great day,” I heard my husband say on the opposite line. The words felt so warming as he said them to me.
“Thanks. I love you very much,” I replied.
“Love you too,” he said back in calm loving words. “Bye.”
I hung up and said to the class to get their math books out.
“Ok, today we are going to learn about multiplying two digit numbers by each other. Lets start with Brooke. Can you please read section 1-4 on page 32 please?” I said.
Brooke started to read, “When you are multiplying two digit fractions, you need to always line up the numbers one on top of the other. First, multiply the top right digit, as shown in the example below, and multiply it by”
“Mrs. Riles! Come to my room quickly!” said Mr. Froy loosing his breath.
I told the class to wait where they were and that I would be right back. I walked into Mr. Froy’s room with no children in site and there on the TV screen was a familiar looking building, fifteen miles from where I was, in downtown New York City. It was the worst site I had ever seen in my life that almost caused me to faint. On the screen, I watched as the tall building was falling down from its feet, struggling to stay up with the top gone. I started to cry in fear, suddenly realizing that my husband was in the second tower right next door. I didn’t know why or how this just happened but all I needed by me, right away, was my husband. I wanted to see his face and know that he was ok.
Finally, I walked back to my classroom assuring everyone that everything was fine. All I knew was a plane hit the tower and everything was going to be ok though it was terrible of what just happened. At least it wasn’t on purpose, right?
“Ok class, let’s, um, get out our writing pieces on matter and finish your rough draft. We will do the lesson for math tomorrow.” I said in an uncertain voice.
After twenty minutes of watching and waiting to find out what just happened, the bell rang, and all of the kids were excused to recess. I walked back over to Mr. Froy’s room and found all of the teachers standing in there watching the TV. Mr. Barlos, the principal, announced to everyone that one of the twin towers had just been hit a half an hour ago. Everyone gasped in shock, having not understood what had been occurring just now all over the news on every station. Mr. Barlos said that they believe the wreck was a simply mistake. He said a plane had flown into the building and that everything was ok, until suddenly, he was interrupted by a loud announcement coming over the TV saying, “We have just watched and now report that the second twin tower has been hit, we repeat the second tower has been hit. We recommend for everyone in the area to please get to a safe spot immediately.”
I froze in shock then started to feel tears fall from my eyes for I could not believe what I had just heard. This time, everyone new that this was not an accident, as we had all originally thought, but on purpose. No one knew what to do next, and we all stood there in silence. Mrs. Romes came over to me and tried to comfort me knowing that that was where my husband worked. I prayed in my head asking God to please allow my husband to live. We watched as the building collapsed on the screen in front of our faces realizing that history was just made. Not just small history like the death of one person, but worldwide history, worse than anything ever imaginable. It was an event that would be known forever to mankind.
A few teachers then went outside and got all of the classes directing them to come inside and go to the cafeteria for a lockdown. Many of the children were frightened, but all of the teachers assured them that it was going to be ok. I sat against the cold brick wall in the cafeteria praying to keep us all safe and once again, to keep my husband safe. I watched as the entire student’s parents came running into the building to make sure their babies were safe. All of the kids went home after every parent came to pick their child up. We made sure to tell everyone that school was cancelled the rest of the week until further notice. When every student was gone, all of the teachers quickly went home too, including me. I jumped in the car and drove home as quickly as I could, avoiding the speed limit and trying to hold back tears scared to not find my husband at home.
When I got to our street, I drove slowly not wanting have to see my blank driveway with no car in it and none of the houselights turned on. I drove up and found that the fear I was fretting just a second ago the most, came true. I ran inside of the house and started to yell, “ Bradley, Bradley answer me!” There was no answer. I called his cell phone and got no answer. I knew that my husband was gone forever.
Sitting at home three weeks later on a Saturday, I heard a knock on the door. I stood up scared to answer it. I opened it and saw a buff man stand before me in a firefighters suit. He said, “Are you Mrs. Meredith Riles?” I
“Yes,” I answered.
He said, “I would like to inform you that your husband Bradley Riles is still recorded as missing, but we found a miraculous object today.” I watched as the man held his hand out holding what looked like a small origami crane in his hand. “ Please treasure this,” he said, and then he left.
I opened up the crane not knowing what it was for, but I read:
Dear my loving Meredith,
Incase something happens to me today, I want you to know that I love you very much. You are my love and you will always be mine no matter what. Take this with care for incase I die today, you will always have a part of me.
Yours loving forever and always,
I stood their astounded saying under my breath looking up, “Thank you for leaving this behind for me. Thank you.”