Emily & Jeff were happily married at last. Jeff had a intense ardour towards fighting for his country, he had made a promise to himself, to follow his dream after he got married. The Happy couple moved to a small house, in South Dakota to start a family.
Although Evelyn, who was Emily’s mother-in-law, disliked Emily very much, Emily always used to put on her brightest smile and confront her. Evelyn once told Emily that it was a sin, but moreover so, let her know that it was very unfortunate that she had to marry her own son,Jeff.
During the holidays, Evelyn showed up at their home, and made Jeff’s favorite food for him to cherish. For instance, Jeff loved his mom’s home made cookies, that Emily couldn’t ever get right. Jeff loved his mother dearly.
Jeff used to leave to training camp every morning, and Emily tried her best to finish the household chores before he returned.
On a sunny day, all 3 of them decided to go the mall, to spend quality family time together. But Jeff’s main intention was to make Emily & his mom get along well. Evelyn’s eyes gazed every glass storefront as she strolled by. Something Caught her eye. Emily & Evelyn both walked into the store to try on a lipstick shade, which Evelyn had deeply fallen in love with. Evelyn bought it and hoped her son would notice.
“What did Jeff Say?” Emily asked as she zipped her purse.
“He doesn’t seem to notice at all.” She said with disappointment.
Months later, the day had finally arrived. Jeff had to leave to Iraq.
She grieved for her son while he walked away waving a hard goodbye. Evelyn fumbled Emily’s shoulder and sobbed.
They both headed home.
Evelyn helped Emily pack her belongings, to help her move to her mom’s place back in Florida. The room flooded with silence. Not a word left their mouth, nor did they try.
Weeks had passed. Evelyn sat down on her chair, trying hard to read her favorite novel from her childhood.
As she flipped through the pages,Her doorbell rang.
She stood up, with her feeble feet, covered in socks; and made her way slowly, holding tight onto her crutch.
She opened the door to 2 army men.
“Stop.” She said as she held up a hand.
“Just tell me if my son is Alive” She said.
“No,ma’am. I’m afraid not.” said the soldier.
It took her a lot of time for the truth to sink in. Jeff was the best of her. Her build, her smile, her eyes.
After the first few months, after learning the horrible details of her sons death, she drove to Florida to help Emily sort Jeff’s belongings from Iraq.
The Bag covered in fresh Iraq dust brought back her memories. They rifled through and found a few notebooks, his clothes, his watch and a few photos of Evelyn & Emily.
They sat in her garage as sheets of rain poured down, while going through Jeff’s life in the desert. It was all too much to remember. Too much life packed in one container.
Evelyn stopped. A space was created with a thick palpable grief. Emily and Evelyn bridged the distance between each other, sharing the love they had for Jeff to an unknown middle ground.
A few days later, they were summoned to take one last look at the photos of Jeff’s jet crash. They also listened to the last few seconds of audio before he died.
“Hold it steady. Pull up” it said.
Evelyn stood behind Emily during the hardest parts and held her tightly.