***Attention!*** If you haven’t read Part I of the story, you can find it by clicking here.
1 Week Later…
Last night’s bottle of wine startles me awake when it hits the floor. I grab my pounding head, the room spinning. Beside me, my phone buzzes and with a growl I grab it before it can follow the bottle’s example.
The screen lights with a text from my mother. Why does she care if I’ve checked my email recently?
My stomach tumbles. Did I forget to pay a bill? Chris was the one that was better at remembering those things. I drag myself from the couch and into the kitchen, the floor seeming to roll like the ocean under my feet. Is this what Peter felt like when he tried to walk to Jesus? I snort. Yeah, right.
I crumple into a chair and turn on my laptop, laying my head on the keyboard while it warmed up. When it finally beeps for me to type in my password I have to try three times before I get it right. I need another glass of wine.
When my inbox finally comes up, a forwarded email from the Patriot Pen Pals is at the top of the list. What is my mother up to now?
I open it and my eyebrows shoot up, making me wince. Who knew wrinkling my forehead would affect a hangover?
Your pen pal emailed us, asking that we forward it to you. I guess he’s not much for snail mail.
I scroll down a few lines. My heart going strangely fast.
I’m sorry for your loss. Your husband was a brave man. I didn’t know him personally but thank you both for the sacrifice you’ve made.
My name is Corporal Jonathan Nesbit, unit #2063. I’m 23-years-old and beginning to feel like this email is turning into the introduction to a dating profile. Sorry about that…
I laugh and rub my head as it protests.
…I’ve never had a pen pal—can you still call it that via email or is it mouse pal?— before. I’m not sure what to say either, but I appreciate knowing someone back home will see this howdy. My family and friends aren’t thrilled with what I’m doing, but it’s just out of worry. They love this nation as much as I do.
This time of year is one of my favorites as well, and I appreciate the gift your mother sent—it wasn’t fruit cake, thank God— it was brownies. She said you had made them, but I guess Santa will have to overlook that little white lie.
For the record, I think you’re a good pen pal.
I hit the reply button.
I’m sorry it took me so long to get to this. I’ve been…
Just wanted to let you know you don’t have to say “God bless” on my account. I’m not too big in that department anymore.
I hope you enjoyed the brownies. “Santa” will be giving my mother coal—or a can of sardines, which she hates, I haven’t decided.
Copying my message, I paste it into a grammar program online and roll my eyes at all my typos. Glad I checked it. No need for him to have a crabby and stupid pen pal. Taking a deep breath, I paste in the corrected version and hit send.
To be continued…